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CPJ Warns EU About Press Freedom Issues

The Committee to Protect Journalists says Europe's reputation as a leader in press freedom is at risk given surveillance issues, restrictive laws on the media and "weak" responses to threats.

That is according to a new report that calls on the European Union to better defend journalists' rights, saying that while on the face of it the EU is committed to press freedom, it is not walking the walk when it comes to accountability. The report cites Hungary and its "deteriorating" press freedom as a case in point and says the EU needs to look at press freedoms when deciding whether to allow countries in the union.

“CPJ is concerned at the increasing number of press freedom violations by European countries traditionally viewed as examples of good democratic practice, and by the failure of the European Union to take resolute action to protect the rights of journalists,” said Jean-Paul Marthoz, CPJ EU correspondent, who wrote the report, in a statement.

The report points to blasphemy laws still on the books in some states, and points to counterterrorism as an excuse for sweeping surveillance measures that censor online journalism and threaten to expose sources.

But CPJ does not simply point fingers. The report offers up some action items for EU and member states to follow, including eliminating mass surveillance, an issue the U.S. has been dealing with since the Edward Snowden leaks; revise or repeal insult, blasphemy and other speech restrictions; and limit liability to keep from turning "private companies into proxy censors."

To check out all the recommendations, go here.

(Photo via Yanni Koutsomitis' Flickr. Image taken on Sept. 29, 2015 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.