Source: Twitter, Vice-President Věra Jourová in discussion with journalist organisations in Athens

By Wouter De Leeuw, intern at AEJ Belgium

Press freedom debates and talks about the protection of journalists in Europe intensified again during the week when journalists, institutions and media outlets throughout Europe remember the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. In September, the European Commission already proposed its Media Freedom Act to strengthen the fight against editorial interference and media pluralism, amongst others – problems which have also been raised among MEPs.

“This is the eighth debate on Malta in the past five years on the Rule of Law”, highlights the spokesperson from the Social & Democrats, Petra von Wüllerstorff, during the pre-session briefing of the parliament last week (14 October). “Right now, we should be focussing on Greece, where journalists are being spied upon,” she added.

More and more cases of the so-called SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) are being reported in several countries. In Greece, European Vice-President Věra Jourová went into discussion with journalist organizations (the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists‘ Unions and the Foreign Press Association in Greece) about the protection of journalists.

Journalism gets more and more openly outed as one of the protectors of democracy in Europe and The remembrance of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination gives everyone a good reason to highlight the values of journalism and its importance for democracies in Europe and beyond.

“Freedom in journalism is freedom in democracy, so it is important to remember that Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed because she was doing a good job,” argues Clara De Melo Ponce, spokesperson chief of Renew Europe.

The extra attention given by the commission and the parliament can only be applauded as a good start to avoid any attacks on the freedom of journalists in the future. AEJ calls on EU institutions to ensure press freedom across Europe as part of efforts within media policies