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MFRR SUMMIT - Protests: A Media Freedom Flashpoint across Europe


- Tamara Filipovic Stevanovic, Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (Serbia)
- Monique Hofmann, Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (dju) in ver.di (Germany)
- Emmanuel Vire, Syndicat National des Journalistes CGT (France)
- CHAIR: Jantine van Herwijnen, Free Press Unlimited (The Netherlands)

2020 was a year of protests. Whether in response to government policies towards the COVID-19 pandemic, opposing structural racism and misogyny, states’ economic and social policies, actions of the police and a range of constitutional tensions, protests have erupted across Europe. While a vital part of modern and pluralist democracies, demonstrations have emerged as one of the most dangerous situations for journalists and media workers to cover. Whether from protesters trying to attack journalists, or intimidate or demonise them as being ‘fake news’ purveyors or ‘against the people’, or from the police in position to oversee the protest, In 2020, more than a quarter of all Mapping Media Freedom alerts related to media freedom violations that took place during protests. The right to protest is vital for a functioning democracy, but so is an independent media, able to report free from threats of violence or intimidation.

How do we avoid a Europe that poses these important democratic practices as opposites? What needs to change? Led by Jantine van Herwijnen of Free Press Unlimited, the panel will look at protests from Germany, France and Serbia and speak to representatives of journalists associations to learn how we can ensure journalists are protected and protests are able to continue.
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