Asps Greek member co-organises media freedom meeting

Symbiosis, the Greek School of Political Studies affiliated with the Council of Europe, joined forces with the Council’s Safety of Journalists Platform, and the Journalists Union of Macedonia and Thrace for the organisation of the conference on the «State of Media Freedom in Europe» in Thessaloniki on 5 March.

The conference addressed the issue of press freedom in Europe, highlighting the main challenges and threats identified in the Platform's 2024 annual report, entitled "Press Freedom in Europe: Time to Turn the Tide".

Issues covered included the need to protect press freedom in a global context marked by the war in Ukraine, disinformation, conflicts in the Middle East and the many forthcoming elections around the world. The first of two panel discussions focused on the protection of journalists’ sources, and the prosecution of journalists working abroad. Journalists from France, Greece, Hungary and Russia spoke about the challenges facing journalists, including abuse of power, impunity, and the normalisation of problematic behaviour.

The second panel discussed the need to document cases of press freedom violations, including abusive lawsuits, and raised the issue of SLAPPS (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation), which pose a threat to freedom of expression and democracy.

The presentation of the 2024 report of the Platform for the Safety of Journalists stressed the growing concern about the use of spyware, abusive prosecutions, and the precarious situation of journalists in exile.

The report demonstrates the growing diversity of threats to journalists, despite a slight decrease in the number of journalists murdered in 2023. Other questions raised include abusive legal action, attacks on public service media, and the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The report also calls for reforms and strong action by Member States to protect media freedom and the safety of journalists.

Finally, the last panel addressed issues raised in the latest report on Greece, including media plurality, SLAPPs, surveillance, and journalist safety. The roundtable featured investigative journalists, unions, authorities, and media freedom representatives. The discussion aimed to provide insights and recommendations to enhance press freedom in Greece.