The EU has taken a significant step with the adoption of the European Media Freedom Act.

Every day, journalists and media workers bravely exercise their freedom of expression, often at great personal risk. Independent, fact-based journalism helps protect our democracies by exposing injustices, holding leaders to account and allowing citizens to make informed decisions. In 2024, with elections taking place in over 60 countries around the globe, the work of journalists is more significant than ever. On this World Press Freedom Day, we honour their work and courage.

As our eyes and ears on the ground, journalists must be protected at all times, everywhere. The EU firmly condemns all acts of violence, including threats, against journalists for exercising their profession, whether perpetrated by states, organised groups or individuals. There must be no impunity for such crimes, no matter where they take place.

Journalists and media workers reporting from armed conflict must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law. The EU deplores the dramatic increase in the number of journalists killed or injured while reporting on the devastating consequences of war. Far too many journalists have lost their lives in recent months while bringing us the news from Gaza. Journalists also continue to be at risk on a daily basis as they report on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, as well as from conflicts in Myanmar, Sudan and elsewhere.

The EU expresses serious concern about the practice of denying independent media access to conflict zones, as a way to control the information space and restrict the public’s access to factual and objective reporting.

Around the world, independent media faces a number of existential threats. More than ever, we must take decisive action to ensure that the media can operate in viable political, economic and legal conditions. At home, the EU has taken a significant step to this end with the adoption of the European Media Freedom Act. This landmark legislation seeks to enhance editorial freedom, protect journalistic sources and improve the transparency of media ownership in the EU.

The EU remains steadfast in its commitment to protect media freedom and pluralism across the world. In defending media freedom, we protect not just our right to know, but our very ability to shape a future guided by truth and accountability

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