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  • Map recording threats to journalists in Europe relaunches and expands to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

    Index on Cen­sor­ship, the Euro­pean Fed­er­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists and Reporters With­out Bor­ders are delight­ed to announce the expan­sion and redesign of Map­ping Media Free­dom, which records threats to jour­nal­ists across Europe, and which will now also cov­er Rus­sia, Ukraine and Belarus.

    First launched in May 2014, the map doc­u­ments media free­dom vio­la­tions through­out the Euro­pean Union and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries includ­ing the Balka­ns and Turkey.

    More than 700 reports were logged on the map in its first year, lift­ing the lid on the every­day threats to media free­dom that have pre­vi­ous­ly gone large­ly unre­port­ed or undoc­u­ment­ed.


    “Map­ping Media Free­dom has high­light­ed the kinds of threats faced by media organ­i­sa­tions and their staff every­day through­out Europe — from low-lev­el intim­i­da­tion to threats of vio­lence, impris­on­ment, and even mur­der. Hav­ing a detailed data­base of these inci­dents — most of which pre­vi­ous­ly went unre­port­ed — helps us and oth­ers to take action against the cul­prits,” said Index on Cen­sor­ship CEO Jodie Gins­berg.


    The relaunched online plat­form will make it eas­i­er for pol­i­cy mak­ers and activists to iden­ti­fy trends in media free­dom and to respond effi­cient­ly with imme­di­ate assis­tance or to cam­paign on spe­cif­ic issues. It also pro­vides sup­port such as legal advice and dig­i­tal secu­ri­ty train­ing to jour­nal­ists at risk. Any­one can sub­mit their own reports to the site for ver­i­fi­ca­tion by project offi­cers.


    «At a time when free­dom of infor­ma­tion is fac­ing threats not seen since the times of the Sovi­et Union, sup­port­ing jour­nal­ists and blog­gers is cru­cial. While part of the con­ti­nent is sink­ing in an author­i­tar­i­an drift, online sur­veil­lance has become a com­mon chal­lenge», said RSF Pro­gramme Direc­tor Lucie Moril­lon.  


    Fol­low­ing renewed fund­ing from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion ear­li­er this year, the crowd-sourced map incor­po­rates new fea­tures includ­ing coun­try fil­ters and an improved search facil­i­ty. The project also aims to forge new alliances among jour­nal­ists across the con­ti­nent, espe­cial­ly young media prac­ti­tion­ers who will find use­ful resources and in depth cov­er­age on a ded­i­cat­ed “Free Our Media!” page.


    In reac­tion to new dra­con­ian mea­sures and vio­lence in the region, the new design coin­cides with an expan­sion into Rus­sia, Ukraine and Belarus. All new reports from this area will be avail­able in Eng­lish and the region­al lan­guage.


    “The enlarge­ment of the mon­i­tor­ing process to Ukraine, Rus­sia and Belarus is good news for jour­nal­ists and media work­ers in the region. Jour­nal­ists are usu­al­ly at the heart of vio­lent demon­stra­tions, clash­es and armed con­flicts where they may be shot, assault­ed, kid­napped, arrest­ed, abused and killed. They are fac­ing dif­fi­cult pro­fes­sion­al chal­lenges between extrem­ists or pro­pa­gan­da agents. Thanks to its affil­i­ates, the EFJ will con­tin­ue to doc­u­ment all media vio­la­tions and raise aware­ness to end impuni­ty when vio­la­tions occur”, said Mogens Blich­er Bjer­regård, EFJ Pres­i­dent.


    Part­ners, coun­try cor­re­spon­dents and affil­i­ates to the project — includ­ing Human Rights House Ukraine, Media Legal Defence Ini­tia­tive and Euro­pean Youth Press — will work togeth­er to ensure the grow­ing threats to media free­dom in the region are high­light­ed, and tack­led.

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