Key Messages From Media Freedom Conference Highlight Importance Of Independent Journalism
An independent, pluralist, responsible journalism plays a pivotal role in informed participation, rights enjoyment, and public accountability. That was one of the key messages from the high-level conference in Riga organised by the Council of Europe and the current presidency nation Latvia. The conclusive messages as a result two days of panel debates, stressed that: ’By enabling people’s access to quality information, it contributes to fostering trust and combating polarisation and division within society.’
The conference, “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword? Meeting today’s challenges to freedom of expression and the safety of journalists,” renewed commitment to freedom of expression and media freedom in Council of Europe member states including the UK.
Outcome messages – aimed at all stakeholders with the power to contribute to meaningful change – included:
• Upholding freedom of expression and information is fundamental for robust democracies, wholeheartedly endorsed by the Council of Europe and its member states.
• Independent, pluralist, responsible journalism plays a pivotal role in informed participation, rights enjoyment, and public accountability. By enabling people’s access to quality information, it contributes to fostering trust and combating polarisation and division within society.
• Empowering users through media and information literacy measures is essential for developing resilience to disinformation and countering manipulation of information. It becomes even more difficult with the rapid development of artificial intelligence, which compels us to adapt to emerging realities.
• Professional solidarity is instrumental in safeguarding the independence of media and ensuring the safety of journalists.
• Adequate guarantees and support for free and safe journalism – both in the public and private sector, at central and local levels – offline and online, in times of peace, but also during crisis, conflict, and/or war, are instrumental for providing the public with timely and trustful information and countering disinformation and manipulation.
The conference earlier heard NMC CEO Andrew Moger state: ‘The ability of professional journalist, including reporters, news photographers and video journalists to witness events of public interest and to provide objective accounts must be safeguarded from control and censorship including self-censorship. It provides opportunities for social change, creates communities of shared interest and informs citizens including the young about real-world occurrences.’ Link to published story based on my intervention.
Link to Key Media Freedom Messages document.