Insights News Media Europe urges European Commission to persist with its Recommendation for the Safety of Journalists in Europe


Last week, we reported on the EU Commission’s adoption of a Recommendation to strengthen the safety of journalists and other media professionals. This week, we report that News Media Europe has called on the Commission to ensure the measures set out in the Recommendation are implemented.

Although the Recommendation is a non-binding instrument, News Media Europe has welcomed it as an important step forward in the protection of news professionals and their duty to inform. Member States must report about the implementation of the set of recommendations within the next 18 months.

Wout van Wijk, Executive Director at News Media Europe, said: “Threats to media professionals are spreading through Europe like a dark stain. Now that the Recommendations are out, we ask the European Commission not to let go of anything. Change must happen, in the criminal systems, in the implementation of the rule of law principles, and in the way society perceives news media professionals. Now Member States need to step up to protect journalists and journalism, vital to the functioning of democracy”.

News Media Europe says that even non-legislative actions can have a positive outcome with the right level of ambition and accountability. The Recommendation follow up must be a serious one, involving all interested parties including press publishers.

While News Media Europe agrees with the Commission’s assessment of the deteriorating working conditions of journalists, emphasis must be put on:

  • involving online platforms in the fight against online threats;
  • making news media professionals in general “trusted flaggers” online and “critical workers” in times of crisis;
  • making public funding easier for journalists and newsrooms to apply;
  • mapping out effective initiatives, public and private, to foster best practices, for instance in the promotion of female and minority media professionals; and
  • launching an EU campaign for recognition of the democratic value of the role of the media.

News Media Europe says that a lot remains to be done to achieve press freedom across all of Europe and that it stands by the EU Institutions in this endeavour. To read News Media Europe’s press release in full, click here.