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Council of Europe launches online platform for media protection

Council of Europe/Screenshot

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 3 April 2015.

The Council of Europe has launched an online platform dedicated to recording violations of journalists' rights in its member states in order to promote their safety.

The launch followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding last December in Paris for collaboration on the platform between the Council of Europe and five partner organisations – the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists, Article19, Reporters without Borders and the Association of European Journalists(AEJ).

"We welcome the launch of this platform which will help keep track of – and expose – attacks and forms of intimidation on journalists," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "Governments will no longer claim not knowing what is taking place and we expect the Council of Europe to hold them to their obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights, including respect for press freedom."

Under the terms of the MoU, the partner organisations will submit for publication on the platform alerts on all types of violations of journalists' rights to bring them to the attention of the Council of Europe's member states and institutions.

In a statement on the platform's launch, the Council of Europe said that "this platform is designed to facilitate the compilation, processing and dissemination of factual information, verified by the partners, concerning serious physical threats to journalists and other media personnel, threats to the confidentiality of media sources and forms of political or judicial intimidation." "The platform will enable the Council of Europe to highlight serious concerns about media freedom and journalists' rights, to react more effectively in response to these threats and to initiate a dialogue with the member states concerned on possible remedies and protective measures," the statement added.

The platform will feature alerts on the following violations of media freedoms:

* Attacks on physical integrity of journalists
Killings, violence, threats or other attacks to the physical integrity of journalists, their family members and other media actors, bloggers,writers, human rights defenders communicating in the public interest

* Harassment of journalists
Harassment of journalists and other media institutions or actors, threats to journalists' privacy, attack to property,loss of employment, psychological abuse, bullying/cyberbullying

* Impunity
Impunity in the above mentioned cases, failures to investigate and prosecute crimes against journalists and other media actors

* Threats to journalists sources
Alleged threats to the confidentiality of journalists' sources or threats to their physical integrity and security because of their collaboration with journalists, media or human rights defenders or organisations.

* Acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Acts having chilling effects on media freedom including judicial and political intimidation and legal framework limiting media freedom:

a. Judicial intimidation (opportunistic or abusive use of defamation, anti-terrorism laws,national security, hooliganism or anti-extremism laws)

b. Political intimidation (including hate speech)

c. Legal framework limiting media freedom

* Other
Abusive or unjustified blocking of media-related websites or social media platforms, censorship, hacking, etc.

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