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AEJ Media Freedom Representative’s Report for the Linz Congress 2008

By William Horsley

 

In 2008, the AEJ achieved the goal agreed at the Dublin Congress last year of being accepted by the Council of Europe as an “observer” member of the CoE’s Steering Committee on the Media.

The decision followed my appearance at the Committee when it met in Vienna in May. Details of the Committee’s wide-ranging work relating to media freedom, media diversity, media standards, internet regulations etc are on its website. Matthias Traimer, chairman of the Media Steering Committee, accepted our invitation to attend and speak at the Linz Congress.

Of special interest is the new initiative by the Media Sub-Committee of the CoE’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) to establish a set of “Indicators of Violations of Media Freedom” (see links), and to monitor the situation in every member state with the help and input of media organisations and associations, including the AEJ. Rapporteur Wolfgang Wodarg MdB has led the work of drawing up the Indicators, which are important and very relevant to the needs of journalists and media.

This represents a new opportunity for the AEJ to contribute our experience and observations on key media issues and help shape the Council of Europe’s policies to resist the strong pressures by governments and others to undermine or take away traditional rights and freedoms of the media. We have also agreed to combine our efforts as a multinational association to contribute to establishing high professional media standards, without which the arguments for media freedom and independence can be easily undermined.

 

 

The topics for discussion at the Linz Workshop on Media Freedom have been chosen with these aims in mind. AEJ members from various sections will make live presentations for debate. Text versions of the available reports were posted here a day before the workshop. The detailed reports from many AEJ sections on the theme of "Declining Public Trust in Media" are also accessible.

Earlier, in February 2008, the Update of the AEJ Survey of Media Freedom across Europe was published and presented to about 20 journalists who attended an AEJ press launch of the new Survey in Brussels. This produced a good amount of positive coverage in various European media.

Many AEJ sections also sent in reports about lively debates and other events held to mark World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.

The success and usefulness of the AEJ’s input to the Council of Europe and other important organisations depends on the commitment and active support of members in all our sections. Please continue to show support. Journalism is our business and we must protect its rights and standards – and do all we can to roll back the “retreat of media freedom in Europe” which was revealed in the two AEJ Media Freedom Surveys.

 

Media Freedom Reports

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2011

2011 [link to aej.org]

2010

2009

2008