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Statement by Iceland in informal exchange of views on media freedom and safety of journalists

Thank you, Michele. We thank you and the Italian presidency for organizing today’s informal exchange on this topical matter as there is no doubt that media freedom and the safety of journalists is under threat. Going through the alerts on the Platform for the protection of journalism and safety of journalists reinforces this conclusion.

Governments and civil society must work together to reverse this trend and we pay tribute to the participation in today’s discussion of representatives from organizations at the forefront of protecting media freedom and keeping journalists safe.

The worsening environment for media freedom in Europe and the continuously growing number of attacks on journalists is deeply worrying. For without a free press, a society is neither free nor enlightened. Diligent and capable journalists play a key role in our society and without a free press, democracy and human rights will suffer.

We must all condemn attacks on journalists and call for their protection by law. Our message must be loud, clear, and unwavering – the media is an integral part of a democratic and pluralistic society, and fundamental for our common security.

Together we must ensure that any restriction of the right to freedom of expression is made in full compliance with the requirements of European Convention for Human Rights. The Court has provided essential guidance on how to fulfil the obligations stemming from the Convention and States should make full use of the assistance offered by the Council of Europe.

Mr. Chair, the background document on current trends in threats to freedom of expression identifies the need to further strengthen relations and synergies with other international organization to create greater impact.

We would like to ask the presenters how they perceive the work of the Council of Europe in this field and how they think the organization could enhance its cooperation with international organizations like the UN, the EU and the OSCE or informal partnerships such as the Media Freedom Coalition?

I thank you.

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