How independent media and journalists face the challenges of repression beyond EU borders?
Session co-organised by the European Endowment for Democracy and UNESCO

Between 2012 and 2016, 530 journalists were killed, an average of 2 deaths per week. Moreover, we can witness a substantial rise in forms of violence against journalists, including kidnapping, arbitrary detention and torture. The situation in the online world is not any better. Digital safety is an increased concern for journalists across the globe, with threats posed by intimidation and harassment, disinformation and smear campaigns, website attacks and arbitrary online surveillance. (According to UNESCO Latest World Trends Report on Freedom of Expression).

This session is a tribute to all information heroes around the globe, those risking their lives to ensure that citizens have access to plural information, a fundamental pillar of functioning democracies. The session will highlight the various dangers faced by journalists in performing their jobs through various testimonies from the ground. It will also highlight the tools in place to help them voice their resistance.

Free media has always been perceived as a fundamental pillar of functioning democracies and a platform for democratic discourse. With increasing control by governments and business interests, financial difficulties, shady ownership, as well as online violence and foreign interference, there is a growing need to support credible and balanced journalism committed to engaging audiences through quality content. While there are numerous independent media initiatives globally, a large number of them struggles to continue operations, with their journalists facing daily threats, intimidation and risk of imprisonment.

The new increasingly difficult challenges are rooted in deteriorating media landscapes, non-conductive for freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity. To this end, it is crucial to put to the forefront the true voices of resistance operating on the media landscape in the European Neighbourhood and beyond.

Testimonies from the ground will be accompanied by a global commentary by the UNESCO expert, based on the findings of the latest report on the World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

Key questions:

  • What are the challenges faced by independent media outlets in different parts of the world and how do they attempt to overcome the obstacles?
  • What are the threats posed on journalists? Is there a common denominator for all the geographical areas in terms of repressions faced?
  • Which tools are used by independent outlets to voice their resistance?

How can media reflect plurality, diversity and freedom of speech while continuing their operation in the increasingly challenging political environment worldwide?



Natalia Antelava Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, Coda Story