The Council of Europe building is seen in Strasbourg, France, on March 16, 2022. The council recently issued its annual report on the status of press freedom in Europe. (AFP/Patrick Hertzog)

Council of Europe publishes annual report on press freedom

On April 27, 2022, the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists, a body comprising 15 international media and free expression groups including the Committee to Protect Journalists, published its annual report on the status of press freedom in Europe.

The report, “Defending Press Freedom in Times of Tension and Conflict,” analyzes violations reported to the platform in 2021 and provides an overview of media freedom in Council of Europe member states.

The report noted that physical attacks on journalists increased in 2021, including at protests, and stated that journalists face continued criminalization of their work, including legal threats, surveillance, and the abuse of restrictive legislation. It also noted that journalists can struggle to survive professionally because of concentrated media ownership and threats to public media outlets in some countries.

In a statement, Council of Europe Secretary-General Marija Pejčinović Burić said, “we must redouble our efforts to defend the core principles of freedom of expression and media independence that are essential to our democracies.”

The report can be read in full here.