A coalition of organisations affiliated with the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Protection of Journalism has reportedly shown that 108 journalists spent New Year’s Eve in prison in Europe.
The EFJ and its affiliates report that while the overall number of journalists detained in Europe has fallen slightly compared to last year which was 108 instead of 124, repression has increased considerably in certain countries such as Azerbaijan, where the number of journalists detained has almost quadrupled, as well as in Russia. In 2023, Russia imprisoned the most journalists in Europe recording 40 in total, in Russia and occupied Ukraine.
The EFJ and its affiliates therefore called on national governments to take the necessary measures to guarantee press freedom in Europe and to ensure the safety of journalists. Legal standards exist and so do good practices. But very few states implement them.
The EFJ President, Maja Sever, said, “There are almost as many journalists imprisoned in Europe as in China and Iran combined.
“The recent wave of arrests of independent journalists in Azerbaijan is designed to intimidate all journalists working in the country.
“It is worrying to see Western European countries such as the United Kingdom adopting the same practices. We demand the immediate release of journalists imprisoned just for doing their job!”
The EFJ in particular called on the member states of the Council of Europe to implement without delay the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation 2016/4 on the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists. The adoption of national plans related to this Recommendation is now a priority.
According to the list of the 108 journalists detained in Europe by New Year’s Eve, 32 journalists were detained in Belarus, 23 in Russia, 17 were detained in Occupied Ukraine, 15 in Azerbaijani, 19 in Turkey, one in Poland and one in the University Kingdom.
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