The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) recognises that physical threats to the life, safety, wellbeing and security of journalists and media organisations remain a serious concern in many European countries.
The recent actions of some governments in passing laws that restrict the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media suggest that there is a need for advocacy against such laws or to improve existing legislation.
Individual journalists, bloggers, activists, free speech advocates, non-governmental organisations and media outlets, especially those operating in countries with more restrictive governments, can find it difficult to find legal expertise and pay for adequate legal support. Organisations monitoring governments and parliaments may also need legal expertise to argue for better legislation.
ECPMF offers and co-ordinates legal support for free speech individuals and organisations working in countries located geographically in Europe.
Depending on ECPMF’s assessment, such support may consist of:
- General guidance
- Access to legal advice on relevant law and strategy
- External assistance (for example to submit a case to court, watching briefs, oral advocacy)
- Access to expertise in policy and law making
- Engagement in national or international litigation (directly or indirectly).
The ECPMF’s legal affairs committee will review each application for support to decide the appropriate response.
If you have any questions about your entitlement to legal support please contact ECPMF directly at [email protected].
When applying for legal support, applicants will be asked to confirm that they have acted and will act in good faith by sticking to common European journalistic and ethical standards.
For the avoidance of doubt: ECPMF will not support standard labour disputes or any speech that can be considered hate speech or incitement to violence.
Some legal threats – like life imprisonment or closing a media outlet – will be given priority.