Data recorded via Mapping Media Freedom is used to generate empirical analyses and to identify regional/national patterns, case studies and positive developments in the field of media freedom and pluralism in Europe.
Data recorded via Mapping Media Freedom is used to generate empirical analyses and to identify regional/national patterns, case studies and positive developments in the field of media freedom and pluralism in Europe.
From January to June 2023, the MFRR partners recorded 575 media freedom violations in European Union Member States and candidate countries, involving 844 individuals or media outlets. 307 of those took place in EU Member States, while 268 occurred in candidate countries.
In the EU the most common type of attacks were verbal attacks (35.8%) such as insults and discrediting of journalists, to which this report dedicates one of its thematic chapters. Legal attacks were the second most prominent category (24.8%), followed by physical attacks (21.2%), attacks on property (16.9%), and censorship (14.3%).
The current monitoring report offers an overview of the media freedom situation across the EU and candidate countries in the first half of 2023 and it starts with a thematic chapter on the crackdown on independent media in Turkey amidst devastating earthquakes and national elections that took place at the beginning of the year, followed by a chapter on the war in Ukraine and its repercussions on media freedom.
The report also covers the rise in attacks on journalists and media workers by police officers and security forces and, as mentioned earlier, the rise in the discrediting of journalists and reputational attacks against them to hinder their work.
The report is divided into the following chapters: an overview offering data and graphics about the press freedom situation in the EU and in candidate countries in 2023, four thematic sections with quantitative and qualitative analysis regarding the aforementioned topics, and country reports offering a summary of the most relevant threats in the following EU countries: Italy, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, and France; and in the following candidate countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
In 2022, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) recorded 813 media freedom violations in EU Member States and candidate countries involving 1,339 individuals or media outlets. 415 alerts were recorded in the EU, while 398 were registered in candidate countries. 10 journalists were murdered: nine in Ukraine and one in Turkey.
The current monitoring report offers an overview of the media freedom situation across the EU and candidate countries in 2022, and it starts with a thematic chapter on the war in Ukraine and its repercussions on media freedom. The MFRR started monitoring the country immediately after the full-scale Russian invasion started in late February, and it recorded 140 media freedom violations.
In the EU, the main type of incidents were verbal attacks (42.4% of all alerts), followed by legal attacks (27.2%), to which this report dedicates an extensive chapter on the year that the European Commission put forward a proposal for an EU anti-SLAPP directive.
The report also includes a third thematic section on online attacks. While in 2021 protests were the most frequent place for journalists to be attacked (39.8%), 2022 data shows that protests only accounted for 21% of the alerts in the EU, while attacks taking place online rose from 14.1% in 2021 to 20.7% in 2022.
A final thematic chapter focuses on the threats faced by journalists covering climate and environmental topics (12 alerts in the EU in 2022). In the past year, as these protests became more disruptive, journalists covering these actions were subjected to obstruction of their work.
The report is divided into the following chapters: an overview offering data and graphics about the press freedom situation in the EU and candidate countries in 2022, four thematic sections with quantitative and qualitative analysis regarding the aforementioned topics, and country reports offering a summary of the most relevant threats in the following EU countries: Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Sweden; and in the following candidate countries: Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey.
The latest edition of the MFRR Monitoring Report outlines the state of media freedom throughout all European Union Member States and candidate countries from January to June 2022.
The report includes a visual analysis of the data compiled for Mapping Media Freedom, which collects and visualises all press freedom violations in the European Union Member States and candidate countries. Although Moldova and Ukraine received candidate country status on 23 June, alerts from these countries are not included in the 6 month analysis. However, given the severe impact Russia’s invasion has had on journalist safety and media freedom, the report includes a dedicated chapter focusing on Ukraine.
In the first six months of the year, 311 media freedom violations were recorded in 29 countries. These involve 552 persons or entities related to media, including journalists, media companies, family members, journalists sources, and NGOs fighting for press freedom.
Verbal attacks, including harassment and threats were the most common types of violations, making up 39.2% of the total number of attacks. This was followed by legal incidents (30.9%) and physical attacks (19.3%). Attacks to property made up 14.2% of alerts and 12.9% of alerts were linked to censorship, such as blocked access to information.
Among these attacks was the murder of Güngör Arslan, Managing Editor of the Turkish newspaper Ses Kocaeli.
As for perpetrators, private individuals remained the main source of attacks to journalists and media workers (36.3%), followed by police and state security (17.7%) and government and public officials (11.6%).
In terms of contexts in which violations took places, online and digital attacks increased significantly and became the most frequent context (22.8%) closely followed by attacks during protests (22.2%), violations in courts (15.1%), and in public places or on the street (11.3%).
After providing a general overview of the alerts, the report continues with thematic analyses focusing on the war in Ukraine, compliance with some topics raise in the Recommendation on the protection, safety, and empowerment of journalists, and the surveillance of journalists and media workers. These analyses are followed by country reports summarising the state of media freedom in Turkey, Greece, Spain, Poland, Malta, France, Germany, Serbia, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) have published the latest MFRR Monitoring Report, outlining the state of media freedom throughout all EU member states, candidate countries, and the United Kingdom in 2021.
The report includes a visual analysis of the data compiled for Mapping Media Freedom, which collects and visualises all press freedom violations recorded by the MFRR monitoring partners. Before delving into country-specific analyses, the report highlights media freedom violations linked to COVID-19 and online/digital attacks, two categories that feature prominently throughout the 2021 report. The report closes with a list of positive developments for media freedom in the previous year.
An overview of the report’s key findings can be found below.
From January to December 2021, 626 alerts were documented on Mapping Media Freedom (MapMF), ranging from verbal attacks to legal incidents. These alerts affected 1,063 individuals or media entities in 30 countries. The violations include the murders of three journalists: investigative journalist Peter R. de Vries in the Netherlands, veteran crime reporter Giorgos Karaivaz in Greece, and local radio presenter Hazım Özsu in Turkey.
This fact sheet is a selection of statistics and analysis from Mapping Media Freedom (MapF), submitted by the partner organisations in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR). This data covers the period from 1 January until 31 December 2021 in the 27 current EU Member States (i.e., it does not include the United Kingdom).
It provides an overview of the different issues faced by journalists and media actors in 2021 in European Union Member States. Each alert documented on Mapping Media Freedom is classified based on a detailed category system, including the type of attack, type of aggressor (source), and the place (context) in which the attack happened. Through analysis of these aspects, more information about the characteristics of the attacks can be revealed, which provides deeper insights into the situation of press and media freedom and its trends.
The respective alerts of this fact sheet can be viewed directly in the Alert Explorer here. This fact sheet includes the analysis of all incidents of the year 2021 published until 15 January 2022. If cases are reported and published after this date, they will still appear in the data linked in the Alert Explorer above to give an up-to-date view at any time.
Beside the overview, this document also provides more detailed information on the following selected topics: COVID-19, protests, online and digital attacks, physical attacks, and attacks against women journalists.
January 2021 marked the start to the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic. While many countries had previously signaled that strict lockdowns and emergency legislation would no longer be necessary, most European states welcomed the new year with more coronavirus cases than ever before and with severely restrictive measures.
On a positive note, in this period the first vaccines arrived in most European countries but with them also started anti-vaccine protests which have continued throughout 2021.
It also proved that the consequences of the pandemic were now affecting many areas of society, shaping political discourses, radicalising some anti-lockdown movements, and threatening press and media freedom in most countries.
The current monitoring report for the Media Freedom Rapid Response has focused on summarising press and media freedom violations across EU Member States and Candidate Countries from January 2021 until June 2021. It must be noted that this is the first time that the monitoring report covers 6 months instead of 4. While it might create a temporary data overlap, the new update on the methodology will allow for the creation of biannual reports that better reflect general trends in half year periods.
Throughout the reporting period, 272 alerts have been documented, ranging from verbal attacks to legal incidents. 438 individuals or media entities in 26 countries have been subject to one or more press freedom violations, including the murder of veteran crime reporter Girogos Karaivaz in Greece.
26.1% of these alerts were related to Covid-19, from journalists insulted while covering anti-lockdown demonstrations to reporters receiving threats online for their coverage of vaccination programmes.
In fact, most violations of press and media freedom took place at demonstrations. Although not all of these demonstrations are linked to Covid-19, many incidents happened at anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protests, where the press has become a target, as explained in the country analysis of Germany and the “Querdenker” movement.
The cross-country analysis also covers this topic with information from several countries. Online threats have also been on the rise in most countries, a trend that is widely explained in the thematic section of the report, which combines data on the topic from several countries and also the latest qualitative examples from Slovenia or Italy.
The most commonly recorded violation has been intimidation/threats (26.8% of the total), followed by physical assaults not resulting in injury (12.1%), Insults to media workers are the third most common threat (10.7%), followed by discrediting, physical assault resulting in injury, and attacks to equipment.
Private individuals remain the main source or perpetrators of attacks (41.2%), followed by police or state security forces (17.6%), then government/public officials (14%).
This monitoring report uses the same format as the previous ones to analyse the topics and threats that have affected press and media freedom in the covered area in Europe. The report has been compiled by the International Press Institute (IPI) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), with support from the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), in the context of the joint Media Freedom Rapid Response project which monitors and supports journalists, media workers, and platforms that have been threatened.
The report includes a visual analysis of the data compiled for Mapping Media Freedom, which collects and visualises all press freedom violations in the European Union and Candidate Countries. The quantitative analysis is followed by country reports, where MFRR partners highlight some of the most relevant cases of the first 6 months of 2021 in the most affected countries. After this, a cross-regional thematic comparative analysis focuses on the rise of online threats, which have been one of the main contexts of alerts during the studied period and will continue to be monitored in the coming periods. A second comparative analysis focuses on physical attacks against journalists. A brief conclusion closes the report.
The Media Freedom Rapid Response was launched in March 2020 to support at-risk journalists and media workers across EU Member States and Candidate Countries. Past reports can be freely accessed and downloaded on the MFRR website.
This fact sheet is a selection of statistics and analysis from Mapping Media Freedom (MMF), submitted by the partner organisations in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR). This data covers the period from 1 January until 31 December 2020 in the 27 current EU Member States (i.e., it does not include the United Kingdom).
Throughout the period, 280 alerts were recorded on Mapping Media Freedom (with 908 persons or entities related to media being attacked) in 23 EU Member States. Each alert is classified based on a detailed category system, including the type of attack, type of aggressor (source), and the place (context) in which the attack happened. Through analysis of these aspects, more information about the characteristics of the attacks can be revealed, which provides deeper insights into the situation of press and media freedom and its trends.
EFJ and IPI, supported by ECPMF, have compiled the third monitoring report analysing the 4-month period between November 2020 and February 2021, charting the continuation of a worrying decline in media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.
The monitoring report compiled by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and International Press Institute (IPI), with support from ECPMF, gives unprecedented insight into the threats to media freedom in EU member states and Candidate Countries. Within the monitored period, a total of 147 alerts were registered on the Mapping Media Freedom platform charting a wide range of threats across the continent.
A dominant trend is clear: there is no one source or type of threat that we need to protect against. This is a landscape replete with competing motivations, political contexts, methods and tools deployed to target media freedom that undermines the efficacy of a silver bullet approach to protecting journalists. Instead, the analysis shows the need for long term, in-depth and nuanced responses from national, regional and supranational bodies, alongside increased public solidarity and support.
EFJ and IPI, supported by ECPMF, have compiled the second monitoring report analysing the 4-month period between July and October 2020, charting the continuation of a worrying decline in media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.
The monitoring report compiled by European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and International Press Institute (IPI), with support from ECPMF, gives unprecedented insight into the threats to media freedom in EU member states and Candidate Countries. Within the monitored period, a total of 114 alerts were registered on the Mapping Media Freedom platform charting a wide range of threats across the continent.
Key trends including the continued impact of COVID-19 pandemic (and governments’ responses to this crisis), the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) and other vexatious lawsuits aiming at intimidating journalists into silence, as well as the normalisation of online and offline harassment, threats and smear campaigns aimed at delegitimising, targeting and intimidating journalists and media workers:
The year 2020 seems to add another sad chapter on the decline of media freedom in Europe. Main reasons were the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, police violence and online harassment. Find all details in first MFRR-report.
A companion to Demonising the media: Threats to journalists in Europe, the numbers contained in this document are drawn from 3,187 press freedom violations reported to Mapping Media Freedom, an Index on Censorship project, between May 2014 and July 2018 covering 35 European Union member states, candidates and potential candidates for entry.
“This reporter should be raped.”
This was the response from online trolls to Polish journalist Ada Borowicz after she published the story of an attack on a woman in Italy. Borowicz’s ‘crime’, apparently, was to have published the report without referring to the fact the attackers were alleged to have been migrants. Writing on Facebook Paweł Kukiz, a member of parliament and the leader of the right-wing populist movement Kukiz’15, described Borowicz’s reporting as “scandalous”.
Borowicz, who is also Mapping Media Freedom’s correspondent for Poland, was suspended from duties, and recalled from the assignment. Though her management did not give any explanation, she was told by a colleague that she was being punished on account of Kukiz’s Facebook post. The online threats followed.
When her contract with the government-controlled TVP Info was due to be renewed, an extension was not forthcoming.
What do criminals, corrupt corporations and crooked politicians have in common? They all fear investigative journalists, whose job is to expose wrongdoing and hypocrisy by holding the powerful to account.
For their work, investigative reporters have come under threat from multiple sources with the shared aim of stopping information that’s in the public interest from coming to light. Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project, which monitors violations against media professionals throughout Europe, recorded 206 cases of investigative journalists in the 35 countries that are in or affiliated with the European Union (EU35) being targeted in their line of work between 1 May 2014 and 31 December 2018. An additional 77 reports from EU35 showed media workers other than investigative journalists being targeted for their role in reporting on corruption.
Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project, which monitors violations against media professionals in 43 countries, has received 269 reports of cases where national laws in the EU35 have been obstacles to media freedom between 2014 and 2018.
This includes everything from the hundreds of journalists jailed in Turkey following the 2016 failed coup to the seizure of a BBC journalist’s laptop in the United Kingdom, as well as Spain’s Citizens Security Law.
This is the landscape faced by journalists throughout Europe over the past four years.
Mapping Media Freedom has documented media freedom incidents across Europe — over 3,000 were surveyed for this report — since May 2014. The information gathered shows journalists and media outlets targeted in a kaleidoscopic array by political leaders, businesses and the general public – but some key trends have emerged from the reports recorded and verified by the platform. This document outlines some of these, and is intended as a survey of the landscape for media freedom in the region to aid lawmakers and those who wish to help an independent, pluralistic media landscape to flourish.
When protesters pour into the streets, journalists are among the first responders. Traditionally present at demonstrations to document and reflect, they are also among the first to be corralled, targeted and injured.
Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project, which monitors violations against media professionals in 43 countries, provides an insight into the threats that journalists face.
Against a backdrop of nationalism, xenophobia, economic insecurity and anti-government sentiment, reporters have been targeted by demonstrators, counter-demonstrators and police. This report looks at 203 verified cases from the 35 countries in or affiliated with the European Union. There were 46 incidents in France, 33 in Spain, 32 in Germany and 15 in Romania.
The numbers reflect only what has been verified by Mapping Media Freedom. We have found that journalists under-report incidents they consider to be too minor, commonplace or part of the job, or where they fear reprisals. In some cases, project correspondents have identified incidents retrospectively as a result of comments on social media or reports appearing only after similar incidents have come to light.
Contexts vary but journalists face risks from protesters and the police, and from being stuck between the two. Thirteen of the 25 incidents reported in the first nine months of 2018 involved members of law enforcement.
Mapping Media Freedom has been recording threats to press freedom since 2014, highlighting the need for protection for journalists. The project monitors the media environment in 43 countries. In the first two quarters of 2018, 541 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 (Q1: 247; Q2: 294).
2017 Annual Report
Mapping Media Freedom 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. 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.
Index on Censorship’s database tracking violations of press freedom recorded 571 verified threats and limitations to media freedom during the first two quarters of 2017.
1 July – 30 September: Journalists under “unprecedented” attack
An unprecedented series of crackdowns on media professionals and news outlets took place in Europe and neighbouring countries during the third quarter of 2016.
1 April – 30 June: Journalists increasingly caught in the middle
Violence against journalists in Europe increased in the second quarter of 2016, reports submitted to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom platform show, as a government crackdown in Turkey intensified and protests turned violent in countries from France to Finland.
1 January – 31 March 2016: Europe’s stark deterioration of press freedom
Pressure on journalists in Europe increased substantially during the first quarter of 2016
1 October – 31 December 2015: Pressure on media professionals and pluralism growing
Pressure on Europe’s journalists as they do their jobs saw no let up during the fourth quarter of 2015
1 May – 30 September 2015: Europe’s journalists subjected to increasing levels of harassment
Journalists and media workers in Turkey, Hungary and the Balkans are facing increased hostility as they do their jobs
May 2014 – April 2015 – Europe’s journalists face growing climate of fear
Journalists and media workers continue to confront relentless pressure as they do their jobs
May – December 2014 – Under attack: violence and intimidation stalk journalists in Europe
Journalists and media workers are confronting relentless pressure as they do their jobs, a survey of the first six months of incidents reported to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project has found.