Freedom of the press is the right to publish magazines, newspapers and other printed material without being subject to censorship by the government. The annual World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on May 3rd.
As free and independent press is one of the main pillars of a democratic state, in the countries of European Union, the freedom of the press is an essential right which is guaranteed by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and by the European Convention on Human Rights. Also, in the process of enlargement of the EU, freedom of expression is considered one of the main indicators of a country’s readiness to become a member.
This term has been largely used both in the U.S. and Europe this week. On Monday (16/04/2018), at Colombia University’s School of Journalism, the winners of the Pulitzer prize were announced. The highest honour in the competition, the prize for public service, was shared by The New York Times and The New Yorker for their work on harassment and sexual assault which generated the Me Too movement. The Washington Post won two prizes for their investigation on Russian interference in American presidential elections and for the work on Senate race in Alabama. The prize for International Reporting went to the UK-based news agency Reuters. For the complete list of the winners click here.
A similar prize, called European Press Prize, is awarded for the best journalistic works in Europe each year. This year, on March 14th, the European Press Prize winners were announced in Budapest, Hungary. The Distinguished Reporting Award 2018 went to Michael Obert for his article “The human catcher” which was published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Germany. You can find the full list of winners here.
The freedom of press was also discussed this week in April’s plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. As a consequence of the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, MEPs called on Thursday for additional measures to protect the journalists across the EU. The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, strongly condemned the murder and emphasized the fact that freedom of the press must be ensured. On 19/04/2018, a non-legislative resolution which aims at better protecting the journalists across the EU was approved. Also, it was suggested renaming Parliament’s traineeship for journalism after Ján Kuciak.
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- 2018 European Press Prize Winners [online]. Available here [Accessed on 18/04/2018].
- 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners [online]. Available here [Accessed on 19/04/2018].
- EU Charter of Fundamental Rights [online]. Available here [Accessed on 19/04/2018].
- European Convention on Human Rights [online]. Available here [Accessed on 18/04/2018].
- European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations [online]. Available here [Accessed on 19/04/2018].
- Murder of Ján Kuciak: MEPs to urge for action to protect journalists in the EU (2018) [online]. Available here [Accessed on 19/04/2018]
Written by Daniela Loghin — Communication Study Visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and a student of the Master Program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. Daniela has a degree in “Lingue, Culture, Letterature e Traduzione” at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. She speaks Romanian, Russian, English, Italian and French.