Journalists suffer violence, intimidation and self-censorship in Europe, says a Council of Europe study
Brussels, April, 25th, 2017 (COE). A survey published by the Council of Europe, based on a sample of 940 journalists reporting from the 47 Council of Europe member states and Belarus, shows that journalists in Europe are often exposed to serious unwarranted interference in their work, including intimidation and violence. As a consequence, many also suffer from fear, which frequently leads to self-censorship. Almost one third of the journalists who participated in the survey had experienced physical assault over a period of three years. The most common interference, reported by 69% of the journalists, was psychological violence, including intimidation, threats, slandering and humiliation. The second most common interference was cyber bullying. Reports of intimidation from interest groups were the third most frequent interference mentioned, followed by being threatened with force, intimidation by political groups, targeted surveillance and intimidation by the police. The study “Journalists under pressure: Unwarranted interference, fear and self-censorship in Europe” aims to contribute evidence-based data to the debate on how to address threats to media freedom, which have shown a significant increase in Europe in recent years. The survey was carried out via an anonymous online questionnaire in five languages among journalists mainly recruited from members of five major journalists´ and freedom of expression organisations. Over one third of the journalists (35%) participating in the study reported that they did not have access to mechanisms to protect them against the interference with their work. The results highlight the significant impact of the fear of interference experienced by journalists in their work. Fear of becoming victims of future unwarranted interference was high, especially with regard to psychological violence (60%), cyberbullying (57%), intimidation by individuals (51%) and by interest groups (45%), and physical violence (41%). One third of the journalists were concerned about the safety of their families and friends. Link to the foreword, executive summary, introduction and methodology. The full study has been published as an ISBN publication and is available here.
Catholic communicators in Latin America reaffirm conviction of peace and solidarity
Quito, April, 6th, 2017 (SIGNIS-ALC). Catholic communicators from Latin America shared their concerns regarding the situations caused by “abuse of power by the governments who violate human rights”, as well as regarding the consequences of climate change, which creates hundreds of victims in the region. They called on their members to be “managers of a true communication of meaning”. In their final statement (to be read here, in Spanish), the presidents of the national association of SIGNIS Latin America and the Caribbean (SIGNIS-ALC) showed solidarity with the growing violence in Central America, particularly with the situation in Mexico, where "journalists are killed continuously”. After a 3 days-meeting, catholic communicators expressed their satisfaction and published a common statement. They "echoed the peoples of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, facing their legitimate demands for the constant abuses against the nature of which they are victims.” They also said they were “preoccupied by the tensions caused by social protest in Argentina these last few days”, as well as by the situation in Ecuador. To deal with these challenges, the representative of the national associations of SIGNIS-ALC urged the communicators of the continent to “take part in the emergence of a true communication with meaning”, that allows “to create networks of fraternal communion and to share the values of the Gospel”.