Mapping Media Freedom Annual Report Marks Grim Milestone

Mapping Media Freedom, a project of Index on Censorship, has been recording threats to press freedom since 2014, highlighting the need for protection for journalists.

The project monitors the media environment in 42 European and neighbouring countries (including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey).

The map covers a wide range of threats to journalists: from online harassment to changes in the law that hamper the ability of journalists to report freely.

In 2017 1,089 reports of limitations to press freedom were verified by a network of correspondents, partners and other sources based in Europe, with a majority of violations coming from official or governmental bodies.

The new report covering 2017 records:

  • Deaths:  Six journalists were killed as a result of their reporting in 2017.
  • Physical assaults and injury: 175 verified incidents, 109 of which occurred in just five countries

  • Arrests/Detainments: 216 journalists were arrested or detained in 2017

  • Criminal charges/civil lawsuits: there were 192 cases reported to Mapping Media Freedom in 2017

  • Legal measures: 112 legal measures were taken against journalists in 2017

  • Job loss: there were 51 reports of job loss recorded on Mapping Media Freedom throughout 2017

  • Intimidation: widespread across Europe in 2017, with 275 incidents reported to the map
  • Attacks to property: 109 recorded

  • Blocked access: 169 confirmed cases of blocked access throughout Europe in 2017
  • Work censored or altered: 81 documented cases in 2017

Read the full annual report ‘Mapping Media Freedom 2017

Mapping Media Freedom recently recorded its 4,000th case of a media freedom violation in 42 countries around Europe.

The 4,000th case was the arrest of Turkish journalist Muhammet Doğru, a reporter for Kurdish news agency Dicle, who was given a six-year suspended prison sentence for membership of a “terrorist organisation”. He was also sentenced to an additional two years and three months for spreading propaganda.

Doğru had already served 10 months in pre-trial detention.

Across Europe – from Finland to Croatia – journalists report receiving threats of violence on a regular basis. In some cases, this is more than a threat. As Times journalist and Index chair David Aaronovitch wrote to Index on Censorship supporters recently, in the past six months alone two EU journalists have been killed for their work: in Malta and in Slovakia.

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* - References to Kosovo are without prejudice to positions on status. They are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.