Reports   |   Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

Balancing Act

Press freedom at risk as EU struggles to match action with values

The European Union strives to be a global leader in press freedom but faces challenges from member states that have criminal defamation and blasphemy laws, and have introduced counterterrorism measures, including mass surveillance. The EU has made press freedom imperative in negotiating with candidate countries, but has been accused of failing to take strong action when member states renege on their press freedom commitments. Journalists working in the region are also affected by EU laws and policies, such as the trade secrets directive and access to information regulations. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists

September 29, 2015 4:00 AM ET

Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK

Balancing Act


The European Union describes itself as a model for press freedom and an exemplary global power. Although many of its 28 member states feature at the top of international press freedom rankings, there are significant challenges that undermine press freedom and new threats are emerging.

Alerts   |   Japan, Spain, Syria

Four international reporters missing in north Syria

Jumpei Yasuda (Jiji Press/AFP)

Beirut, July 21, 2015--At least four international journalists have been reported missing in northern Syria in two separate incidents in the past month, in the latest indication of the profound dangers of reporting from inside the war-torn country.

Blog   |   Spain

Why Spain's new gag law is threat to free flow of information

A hologram of protesters is projected outside parliament in Madrid on April 10 in opposition to Spain's restrictive 'gag law,' which bans rallies near government buildings and threatens fines for photographing police. (Reuters/Susana Vera)

On July 1 a public security law is due to come into force in Spain amid an increasingly vocal chorus of concern among the media and press freedom groups. The bill--dubbed the "ley mordaza," or "gag law," by opposition groups--would define protests in front of parliament and other government buildings as a "disturbance of public safety," and ban the "unauthorized use" of images of law enforcement authorities or riot police. The punishment for either offense will be a €30,000 ($33,000) fine.

Attacks on the Press   |   Spain, USA

Two continents, two courts, two approaches to privacy

Mario Costeja Gonzalez speaks on his mobile phone outside a court in Barakaldo, Spain, on June 25, 2013. As a result of a lawsuit he filed against Google, Internet companies can be made to remove irrelevant or excessive personal information from search engine results, Europe's top court ruled.  (Reuters/Vincent West)

At 3:20 a.m. on August 24, 2014, the strongest earthquake in a quarter-century rocked the San Francisco Bay Area, causing damage widely estimated at between $300 million and $1 billion.

Blog   |   Spain

EU 'right to be forgotten' ruling will corrupt history

Google has taken its first public steps to comply with a troubling ruling by the European Court of Justice establishing a so-called "right to be forgotten" throughout the European Union. The ruling, on May 13, requires that search companies consider individuals' demands to remove Internet links that reference them, and to give those requests priority over the public's broader information needs. The links may be required to be erased even if the content is truthful, lawfully published, and causes no prejudice to the individual.

Blog   |   Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugual, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

EU underscores support of free expression, but slights access to information

A new document on freedom of expression and opinion, adopted May 12 by the 28 foreign ministers of the European Union, presses nearly all the right buttons. Drawing its inspiration from international human rights norms as well as from the EU's treaties and its charter of fundamental rights, the document reaffirms the role of freedom of opinion and expression as "an essential foundation for democracy, rule of law, peace, stability, sustainable inclusive development, and participation in public affairs." It also makes a strong case for free and independent journalism. The ministers committed the EU and member states to the defense of journalists' freedom and safety, and endorsed watchdog journalism as a decisive factor in "uncovering abuses of power, shining a light on corruption, and questioning received opinion."

Blog   |   Morocco, Spain

Morocco accuses Spain's El País of inciting terrorism

Aboubakr Jamai, left, says the Spanish prosecutor's investigation will embold the Moroccan government in its case against Ali Anouzla. (AFP/Fadel Senna)

Morocco's inclination for wielding terrorism accusations against journalists and news outlets who report on extremist groups has extended to Spain, where authorities are investigating El País newspaper and one of its journalists at the behest of the Moroccan government.

Case   |   Spain, Syria

Two Spanish journalists freed from captivity in Syria

Two Spanish journalists were freed after being held captive in Syria for more than six months, according to news reports. The journalists--Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova--are back in Spain, according to news sources

Alerts   |   Spain, Syria

Two Spanish journalists abducted in Syria

El Mundo correspondent Javier Espinosa, left, and freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova. (AFP/El Mundo/Family Handout)

New York, December 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of two Spanish journalists who were abducted in Syria almost three months ago. Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova have been held captive by the Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) since September 16, the families of the journalists announced today.

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