Analysis

Data recorded via Mapping Media Freedom is used to generate empirical analyses and to identify regional/national patterns, case studies and positive developments in the field of media freedom and pluralism in Europe.

January 2019

Mapping Media Freedom: By the numbers May 2014-July 2018

The numbers are stark and the contexts very, but the unmistakable message they convey is that journalism is at risk in the EU35

A companion to Demonising the media: Threats to journalists in Europe, the numbers contained in this document are drawn from 3,187 press freedom violations reported to Mapping Media Freedom, an Index on Censorship project, between May 2014 and July 2018 covering 35 European Union member states, candidates and potential candidates for entry.

Targeting the messenger: Journalists face an onslaught of online harassment

Mapping Media Freedom correspondents and other journalists discuss their experiences with harassment in the digital realm that has become so commonplace that it is underreported and underestimated.

“This reporter should be raped.”

This was the response from online trolls to Polish journalist Ada Borowicz after she published the story of an attack on a woman in Italy. Borowicz’s ‘crime’, apparently, was to have published the report without referring to the fact the attackers were alleged to have been migrants. Writing on Facebook Paweł Kukiz, a member of parliament and the leader of the right-wing populist movement Kukiz’15, described Borowicz’s reporting as “scandalous”.

Borowicz, who is also Mapping Media Freedom’s correspondent for Poland, was suspended from duties, and recalled from the assignment. Though her management did not give any explanation, she was told by a colleague that she was being punished on account of Kukiz’s Facebook post. The online threats followed.

When her contract with the government-controlled TVP Info was due to be renewed, an extension was not forthcoming.

This report is also available in PDF format

Targeting the messenger: Investigative journalists under extreme pressure

There is a distinct lack of awareness among decision makers about how bad the situation is for journalists reporting on corruption

What do criminals, corrupt corporations and crooked politicians have in common? They all fear investigative journalists, whose job is to expose wrongdoing and hypocrisy by holding the powerful to account.

For their work, investigative reporters have come under threat from multiple sources with the shared aim of stopping information that’s in the public interest from coming to light. Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project, which monitors violations against media professionals throughout Europe, recorded 206 cases of investigative journalists in the 35 countries that are in or affiliated with the European Union (EU35) being targeted in their line of work between 1 May 2014 and 31 December 2018. An additional 77 reports from EU35 showed media workers other than investigative journalists being targeted for their role in reporting on corruption.

This report is also available in PDF format

Targeting the messenger: Journalists ensnared by national security legislation

As security – rather than protecting rights and freedoms – becomes the top priority of governments worldwide, laws have increasingly been used to obstruct the work of media professionals in the 35 countries that are in or affiliated with the European Union (EU35).

Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project, which monitors violations against media professionals in 43 countries, has received 269 reports of cases where national laws in the EU35 have been obstacles to media freedom between 2014 and 2018.

This includes everything from the hundreds of journalists jailed in Turkey following the 2016 failed coup to the seizure of a BBC journalist’s laptop in the United Kingdom, as well as Spain’s Citizens Security Law.

This report is also available in PDF format

November 2018

Demonising the media: Threats to journalists in Europe

Burned in effigy. Insulted. Menaced. Spat at. Discredited by their nation’s leaders. Assaulted. Sued. Homes strafed with automatic weapons. Rape threats. Death threats. Assassinations.

This is the landscape faced by journalists throughout Europe over the past four years.

Mapping Media Freedom has documented media freedom incidents across Europe — over 3,000 were surveyed for this report — since May 2014. The information gathered shows journalists and media outlets targeted in a kaleidoscopic array by political leaders, businesses and the general public – but some key trends have emerged from the reports recorded and verified by the platform. This document outlines some of these, and is intended as a survey of the landscape for media freedom in the region to aid lawmakers and those who wish to help an independent, pluralistic media landscape to flourish.

This report is also available in PDF format

November 2018

Targeting the messenger: Journalists on the frontline of protests

When protesters pour into the streets, journalists are among the first responders. Traditionally present at demonstrations to document and reflect, they are also among the first to be corralled, targeted and injured.

Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project, which monitors violations against media professionals in 43 countries, provides an insight into the threats that journalists face.

Against a backdrop of nationalism, xenophobia, economic insecurity and anti-government sentiment, reporters have been targeted by demonstrators, counter-demonstrators and police. This report looks at 203 verified cases from the 35 countries in or affiliated with the European Union. There were 46 incidents in France, 33 in Spain, 32 in Germany and 15 in Romania.

The numbers reflect only what has been verified by Mapping Media Freedom. We have found that journalists under-report incidents they consider to be too minor, commonplace or part of the job, or where they fear reprisals. In some cases, project correspondents have identified incidents retrospectively as a result of comments on social media or reports appearing only after similar incidents have come to light.

Contexts vary but journalists face risks from protesters and the police, and from being stuck between the two. Thirteen of the 25 incidents reported in the first nine months of 2018 involved members of law enforcement.

2018 Q1/Q2 Report

Mapping Media Freedom has been recording threats to press freedom since 2014, highlighting the need for protection for journalists. The project monitors the media environment in 43 countries. In the first two quarters of 2018, 541 reports of limitations to press freedom were verified by a network of correspondents, partners and other sources based in Europe, with a majority of violations coming from official or governmental bodies (Q1: 247; Q2: 294).

2017 Reports

2017 Annual Report
Mapping Media Freedom has been recording threats to press freedom since 2014, highlighting the need for protection for journalists. The project monitors the media environment in 42 European and neighbouring countries. In 2017 1,089 reports of limitations to press freedom were verified by a network of correspondents, partners and other sources based in Europe, with a majority of violations coming from official or governmental bodies.

Q1/Q2 2017
Index on Censorship’s database tracking violations of press freedom recorded 571 verified threats and limitations to media freedom during the first two quarters of 2017.

2016 Reports

1 July – 30 September: Journalists under “unprecedented” attack
An unprecedented series of crackdowns on media professionals and news outlets took place in Europe and neighbouring countries during the third quarter of 2016.

1 April – 30 June: Journalists increasingly caught in the middle
Violence against journalists in Europe increased in the second quarter of 2016, reports submitted to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom platform show, as a government crackdown in Turkey intensified and protests turned violent in countries from France to Finland.

1 January – 31 March 2016: Europe’s stark deterioration of press freedom
Pressure on journalists in Europe increased substantially during the first quarter of 2016

2015 Reports

1 October – 31 December 2015: Pressure on media professionals and pluralism growing
Pressure on Europe’s journalists as they do their jobs saw no let up during the fourth quarter of 2015

1 May – 30 September 2015: Europe’s journalists subjected to increasing levels of harassment
Journalists and media workers in Turkey, Hungary and the Balkans are facing increased hostility as they do their jobs

May 2014 – April 2015 – Europe’s journalists face growing climate of fear
Journalists and media workers continue to confront relentless pressure as they do their jobs

2014 Report

May – December 2014 – Under attack: violence and intimidation stalk journalists in Europe
Journalists and media workers are confronting relentless pressure as they do their jobs, a survey of the first six months of incidents reported to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project has found.

MediaFreedomEU

#MapMF Alert for Belarus: German TV crew arrested in capital Minsk mappingmediafreedom.ushahidi.io/posts/23160 pic.twitter.com/yeebOPNAWM

MediaFreedomEU

#MapMF for Spain: Posters attacking 6 Catalan journalists as "terrorists" mappingmediafreedom.ushahidi.io/posts/23156 pic.twitter.com/gXwkyJeQvi

MediaFreedomEU

#MapMF for Azerbaijan: Journalists assaulted by police and detained while covering peaceful protest… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

MediaFreedomEU

#MapMF for Italy: Two Italian journalists @nelloscavo and @nancyporsia placed under police protection after threats… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

MediaFreedomEU

#MapMF for Turkey: Journalist Emre Orman detained and house raided, because of social media posts… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…