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Brussels, 2 May 2014
World Press Freedom Day:
European Commission supports pilot projects on media freedom
European Commission support for journalists in the area of media freedom and pluralism comes into the spotlight on World Press Freedom Day, Saturday 3rd May. Four special projects launched earlier this year are receiving around €800,000, thanks to a budget earmarked by the European Parliament. They play a critical role in protecting both the right to free expression as guaranteed by the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights and the media's instrumental role in safeguarding democracy.
Strengthening Journalism in Europe: The Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (European University Institute), in cooperation with Center for Media and Communication Studies will support journalists in Europe especially in situations where their editorial freedoms are threatened or violated. The Centre is developing an international network of media lawyers providing support to journalists and tools to help journalists understand the regulatory and legal parameters around newsgathering, reporting and publishing. In parallel, the Centre will develop a publicly accessible database monitoring violations of press freedom, and related country-specific laws, policies, and case law. It will support new modes of journalism by awarding the best European investigative journalism initiative carried out online.
Strengthening Journalists' Rights, Protections and Skills: The International Press Institute is providing legal, theoretical and practical support to journalists on criminal defamation. The aim is to create a positive legal environment that respects the role of the media in society while making sure that the victims of false or misleading press coverage can adequately redress any damage done to their reputation.
Taking action and mapping violations of media freedom and plurality across the European Union. The Commission has funded Index on Censorship (The Writers and Scholars Educational Trust) to build a real-time mapping of violations of media freedom and plurality in EU member states and candidate countries. Regional correspondents and other contributors will use digital tools to capture reports via web and mobile applications which the centre will map and analyse.
Safety Net for European Journalists: Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, SEEMO, Ossigeno Informazione, and Professor Eugenia Siapera (Dublin City University) are monitoring, verifying and documenting media freedom in Italy, South East Europe and Turkey. The project will launch a crowd-sourcing platform to collect data on the needs of threatened journalist; publish a cross-country report on their needs; and develop a manual offering concrete support to journalists undergoing threats or limitations to their work.
Freedom of expression is one of the essential foundations of the European Union. But freedom of expression can only be exercised in a free and pluralistic media environment, including through independent media governance.
The European Union's commitment to respect freedom and pluralism of the media, as well as the right to information and freedom of expression is enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, similar to the provision of Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
In parallel to these four projects, Commission is supporting the pilot implementation of the Media pluralism Monitor (MPM) by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom and the European University Institute . Nine countries have been selected for the pilot test (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy and the UK).