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Europe in defense of journalists: 900 attacks in 2020

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In Europe, in recent years, journalists have had to face an increasing number of attacks: 900 in 2020 alone. Since 1992, 23 have been killed and the highest number of deaths occurred in the last six years: this is what we read in the report presented by the European Commission at the annual State of the Union Conference

Reversing the trend is the commitment made by the EU. “Information is a public good,” the president said Ursula von der Leyen during his speech before the European Parliament three days ago. The request to member countries – contained in the first Recommendation on the subject prepared by the Commission – is to strengthen security measures for journalists and other media professionals, both online and offline.

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“We call on Member States to take decisive action to make Europe a safe place for journalists,” said the Commission Vice President. Vera JourovΓ‘, submitting the report. Actions such as the creation of independent national support services that include help lines, legal advice, psychological support.

The report also calls for increased security during demonstrations and “to provide regular training to the authorities to ensure that journalists and other media professionals can work safely and unrestrictedly during such events.” Online security is also growing concern due to “hate speech, threats of physical violence, but also cyber security risks and illegal surveillance”.

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The largest number of these kinds of attacks are aimed at journalists, “73% said they have experienced online violence in the course of their work”. To stop these phenomena, the EU says it is ready to offer its support from a technical and financial point of view through various programs and projects already active, such as the European Center for Press and Media Freedom which works to guarantee freedom of the press.

“No journalist should die or be harmed by his work, essential for democracy. The pandemic has shown more than ever the key role of information and the urgent need for public authorities to do more to protect this category”, JourovΓ  concluded.

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