3 May - World Press Freedom Day - Former editions - Portal - www.coe.int (2024)

3 May - World Press Freedom Day - Former editions - Portal - www.coe.int (1)

In an opinion editorial that more than 20 leading news outlets published today, ahead of World Press Freedom Day, Commissioner Mijatović called on member states to improve the safety of journalists.

The article shows the extent of the threats journalists face in Europe, calls upon states to protect them and recommends concrete action that states should take.

Underscoring that the many threats that fuel insecurity among journalists in Europe are also undermining democracy, the Commissioner urges member states to increase the protection of journalists, end impunity for crimes against them, improve legislation and change the hostile attitude many politicians have towards the press.

“The murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Ján Kuciak and many other journalists were not due to fate, but to structural deficiencies in state institutions that should have protected them,” she writes. “This situation endangers journalists as much as democracy. It is high time that states acknowledge it and ensure the safety of journalists and other media actors.”

  • Read full article of the Commissioner for Human Rights

See also:
Our file on the World Press Freedom Day

Commissioner for Human Rights Strasbourg 3 May 2018

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Council of Europe Secretary General calls on European states to ensure that defamation legislation does not silence the media

3 May - World Press Freedom Day - Former editions - Portal - www.coe.int (2)

On the eve of Press Freedom Day on 3 May, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland called upon the 47 Council of Europe member states to make sure that their national legislation on defamation does not lead to self-censorship of the media and does not weaken public debate.

“We are witnessing worrying trends of some governments misusing defamation lawsuits for political purposes, arbitrary application of defamation laws leading to imprisonment of journalists and attempts to roll-back legislative reforms decriminalising defamation. These are among the findings of my Report on the State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Europe 2016”, said the Secretary General.

“It is essential for democracy that the media carry out their work scrutinising and criticising those in power. In performing this watchdog function, they must benefit fully from the guarantees of the European Convention on Human Rights within the limits it establishes. Defamation laws and their implementation should not have a chilling effect on freedom of expression”, he added.

“When drafting or amending legislation, governments should take into account that the European Court of Human Rights has stressed that prison sentences are only compatible with the Convention in very exceptional cases, notably when other fundamental rights have been breached, for example in the case of hate speech or incitement to violence. It is also crucial that sanctions for defamation foreseen in civil law are proportionate and cannot be abused to silence the media”, he stressed.

Defamation has progressively been de-criminalised in most European countries and wherever it is still criminalised, sanctions are seldom applied. However, in recent years there has been a sharp increase in the number of lawsuits and excessive awards of damages, often higher than the fines imposed under criminal law.

In a set of Guidelines to protect journalism and ensure the safety of journalists and other media actors adopted earlier this year, the Council of Europe´s Committee of Ministers asked member states to review domestic laws and practices concerning media freedom, including the way defamation is addressed, to ensure they comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Council of Europe Strasbourg 2 May 2016

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Secretary General calls on European states to protect journalists

International organisations representing journalists have reported 45cases of alleged media freedom violations to the Council of Europe since the launch on 2 April of an Internet-based platform to strengthen the protection of journalism and to promote safety of journalists.

The five organisations which have partnered with the Council of Europe to address alleged serious media freedom violations – Article 19, the Association of European Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders – have reported cases in 14 member states.

“Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to recall how vital free media are for democracy. The conditions for free media are worsening and it is the obligation of our member states to protect journalists as well as every citizen´s right to freedom of expression. The platform for the safety of journalists will allow us to be more assertive in defending these rights. Several of these alerts have seen positive developments and I look forward to engaging in dialogue with member states to identify possible remedies to all the other cases on the platform,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.

See also :

Attacks against journalists are attacks on society at large. In this film, find out what the Council of Europe is doing to protect journalists, free, independent and diverse media.

Council of Europe Strasbourg 30 April 2015

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Committee of Ministers

The Council of Europe today called on its 47 member states to fulfil their obligation to protect journalists and other media actors from intimidation and attacks, and to adopt national legal frameworks for the protection of whistleblowers.

The Committee of Ministers made this call in a Recommendation on the protection of whistleblowers, and in a Declaration on the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists and other media actors, which it adopted shortly before World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.

The Committee of Ministers alerts states to the increasing reports of attacks on journalists and other media actors in several parts of Europe, including specific dangers that female journalists face, and urges them to investigate these attacks vigorously in order to bring the perpetrators to justice. Those at risk include not only professional journalists, but also individuals who contribute to inform the public debate, perform journalistic activities or public watchdog functions.

The Committee claims that state authorities often make insufficient efforts to investigate these abuses and crimes, which leads to a culture of impunity. (more…)

Strasbourg 02/05/2014

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La liberté de la presse à l'ère numérique : nouvelles menaces, nouveaux défis

« Alors qu'une part croissante de l'activité journalistique se déroule sur internet, l'Europe n'est pas devenue plus sûre pour les personnes qui expriment des opinions critiques. Certes, il est désormais possible de communiquer des informations plus vite et à un plus large public qu'auparavant. Mais les personnes ayant recours à ce moyen de communication s'exposent à des menaces à la fois nouvelles et anciennes : violence, intimidation, poursuites pour des propos pourtant tout à fait légaux, harcèlement judiciaire et surveillance sont en effet autant de méthodes qui continuent d'être utilisées à l'ère numérique, y compris en Europe », déclare Nils Muižnieks, Commissaire aux droits de l'homme du Conseil de l'Europe, en publiant aujourd'hui un nouvel article dans le Carnet des droits de l'homme.

Chaque jour, internet permet à la liberté d'expression de s'exercer dans l'intérêt public, en Europe et ailleurs. Ainsi, c'est grâce à internet que de plus en plus de personnes sont informées des affaires de corruption ou de mauvaise gestion, de comportements contraires à l'éthique d'agents publics ou d'entreprises ou encore de graves violations des droits de l'homme. Ces informations sont souvent données par des blogueurs, des « citoyens reporters », ou d'autres qui, au même titre que les journalistes traditionnels, risquent désormais des représailles de la part des autorités ou de groupes d'intérêt (par exemple la criminalité organisée ou des groupes ethniques ou religieux rivaux). (suite...)

«Les gouvernements européens se doivent de garantir la liberté des médias, condition essentielle de la démocratie», déclare le Secrétaire Général Thorbjørn Jagland

Le Secrétaire Général du Conseil de l'Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, a exhorté les gouvernements à respecter pleinement le droit à la liberté d'expression et à une presse libre. Il a rappelé que des journalistes restaient, aujourd'hui encore, exposés à l'oppression et à la censure dans certaines régions d'Europe.

« Il n'est pas de véritable démocratie si les journalistes ne peuvent travailler librement, sans craindre ni l'oppression ni la censure. Dans certains pays malheureusem*nt, les tentatives de placer les médias sous contrôle ou de les contraindre au silence, de même qu'une tendance à l'autocensure, n'ont pas disparu.

Le Conseil de l'Europe, avec la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme, reste l'ardent défenseur de la liberté d'expression, mais les gouvernements peuvent et doivent redoubler d'efforts pour respecter leurs engagements au regard de la Convention. (suite...)

3 May - World Press Freedom Day - Former editions - Portal - www.coe.int (2024)


What is the theme for World Press Freedom Day 2024? ›

World Press Freedom Day 2024: Theme

"A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis" is the theme of World Press Freedom Day 2024. The theme of World Press Freedom Day changes every year. Informing the public about the problems and solutions facing the environment.

Why do we celebrate World Press Freedom Day? ›

Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

When was the first World Press Freedom Day? ›

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

What are the quotes on World Press Freedom Day? ›

“Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.” – Walter Cronkite. “The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.” – Hugo Black. “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom, and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin.

What is the message of Freedom Day? ›

On this Freedom Day, let us remember that true freedom goes beyond mere liberation from chains; it entails creating an environment in which all individuals can live with dignity and uphold each other's liberties with respect.

Why is freedom of press important? ›

Because of press freedom, we get to decide what news, information and entertainment to consume. The government does not have the power to select which media to allow. Exposure to a variety of viewpoints encourages self-expression and debate and helps us make informed decisions about our community and country.

What is Freedom Day in the USA? ›

National Freedom Day is observed on February 1st each year. This date marks the anniversary of the approval of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865, which abolished slavery in the United States.

Is it necessary to celebrate Freedom Day? ›

It is encouraging that Freedom Day is viewed as the most important national day. It has also been found to be strongly associated with patriotism and evokes a sense of national pride. Awareness around Freedom Day and its sentiment is higher than any other national day.

Is freedom of the press in the constitution? ›

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Which country has the oldest act of freedom of press? ›

Sweden was the first country in the world to adopt freedom of the press into its constitution with the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766.

What happened on World Freedom Day? ›

World Freedom Day is an annual event that honors the historic events of November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall, which separated East and West Berlin, was breached and ultimately led to its demolition.

Who created National Freedom Day? ›

On June 30, 1948, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming February 1st as the first official National Freedom Day in the United States.

What is a short quote about Freedom Day? ›

"Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be." - Daniel J. Boorstin. "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit." - Kahlil Gibran. "When we lost the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free." - Charles Evans Hughes.

What happens on World Press Freedom Day? ›

Each year on World Press Freedom Day, the world celebrates the importance of journalism and recognizes the integral role a vibrant, independent media plays in democratic societies.

What is a great quote about freedom? ›

  • “Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.” ...
  • “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. ...
  • “Doing what you like is freedom. ...
  • “May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please but as the opportunity to do what is right.” —

What is the theme of World press? ›

The theme of World Press Freedom Day 2024 is “A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis”. In 2024, the day will be dedicated to the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the current global environmental crisis.

What is the press freedom of India in 2024? ›

India is ranked 159 out of the 180 nations considered in the 2024 edition of the press freedom index, published by the organisation Reporters Without Borders. While this is a marginal improvement from last year, India's performance in the recent past has been consistently poor.

What is celebrated on May 3rd? ›

May 3rd is the 123rd day in the Gregorian calendar; it marks the anniversary of the incorporation of Washington, D.C. as a city and the beginning of the Great Fire of 1901 in Jacksonville, Florida. Famous May 3rd birthdays include Frankie Valli and Willie Geist. May 3rd also marks National Paranormal Day.

What is the meaning of freedom of the press? ›

Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the fundamental principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely.


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