The COVID-19 pandemic has posed and continues to pose significant challenges to media freedom across Europe. This page shows all alerts that are in one way or another linked with COVID-19.

In 2021, two key trends were observed in this regard. These were that a) 80% of COVID-19 related attacks were carried out by private individuals, and b) more than two-thirds (70%) were documented at protests and demonstrations. Furthermore, certain EU member states and candidate countries saw far more COVID-19 related attacks than others. Those with larger and more frequent protests against lockdowns and vaccines tended to experience more violations, and countries where far-right groups were a common feature in these demonstrations also saw more attacks.

In 2020, attacks by private individuals and during demonstrations were key problems concerning pandemic-related alerts as well. However, compared to 2021, overly restrictive laws and policies adopted by governments in response to COVID-19 also represented a major issue negatively affecting press freedom. For example, in Hungary the government introduced imprecise and overly broad amendments to the Criminal Code that expanded the definition of “scaremongering”, thus undermining independent and critical reporting.

This view shows all alerts documented on MapMF related to COVID-19 in European Union member states and candidate countries (excluding the United Kingdom). You may further filter for EU membership status, certain countries, or other aspects available in the filter settings.

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