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Brussels, 3 May 2011

European Commission to host on 6 May  a high level international conference   on the issue of freedom of media in potential EU member states

In order to promote and emphasize the crucial importance of freedom of expression and media in the Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Commission will host on 6 May a high-level international conference entitled "Speak Up!". This event will bring together 400 participants who will have an opportunity to voice their concerns and point to possible ways that their situation could be improved.

In its last Enlargement Strategy, the European Commission sets out its concerns about restrictions to freedom of expression and media in the Western Balkans and Turkey. In several of these countries, some journalists are prosecuted, threatened or otherwise attacked for expressing their views. Such practises are unacceptable.

Freedom of expression and media, one of the political Copenhagen criteria, is a fundamental pillar of good governance and accountability in democratic societies, which requires responsibility of media professionals at the same time. The European Union expects candidate and potential candidate countries, like all mature democracies, to implement this core democratic principle and to enable a varied, pluralistic debate in the public space.

"Today, on the occasion the World Freedom of Press day, let me reiterate that freedom of expression and media is not ensured just by adopting laws and creating institutions – it is a fundamental value, which needs to be cherished by all societies and without which no democracy can function." said Commissioner Stefan Füle, in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy.

If you wish to participate in this event, please register at:

The Conference will be held in Charlemagne building, Gasperi room and start at 9.00 on Friday 6th May. It will be opened by Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, Commissioner Stefan Füle, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek and Hungarian Deputy State Secretary Gergely Proehle.

For further information:

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