Accession to the EU is often described as one of the most effective democracy promotion projects in the world. Countries vying for membership must prove themselves on a range of political and legal criteria that include provisions on standards for human rights, freedom of expression, and press freedom. Currently, five countries—Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey—are negotiating with Brussels, with Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo as so-called potential candidates. None has a respectable press freedom record. “They score significantly below the EU average,” notes Jennifer Dunham, project manager at the U.S.-based watchdog organization Freedom House. CPJ research has documented systemic press freedom failings, all confirmed in the European Commission’s annual progress reports, which assess the countries’ conformity with EU norms.
Talking about genocide prevention in the shadow of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps brings an intense and unique gravity to the discussions. The academic presentations cannot extract themselves from the looming presence of the barbed wires and grim towers surrounding the Nazis' most infamous death factory.
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1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.