Today marks a sad day for Index on Censorship. Today we recorded our 4,000th case of a media freedom violation in Europe. That’s 4,000 cases in which journalists have been harassed, threatened, arrested, jailed – or even killed. Four thousand cases. In just four years.
I became a journalist more than 20 years ago because I wanted to tell untold stories. I wanted people to know – and hopefully care – what was happening not just in their own country but globally. I expected it to be tough. I did not expect that death threats would become a daily part of existence for thousands of journalists.
And yet this is the situation in 2018. On my recent trip to Washington, two senior White House correspondents described, almost as an aside, how receiving death threats had become the norm. The cases reported to our Mapping Media Freedom project, which covers 42 countries in and neighbouring Europe, shows they are far from being alone.
Everywhere – from Finland to Croatia – journalists report receiving threats of violence on a regular basis. In some cases, this is more than a threat. As David Aaronovitch wrote last week, in the past six months alone two journalists have been killed for their work: in Malta and in Slovakia.
Imagine, as you read this, that you received such threats. Imagine what it would feel like.
At Index, we believe this should not be the norm – for anyone. Which is why we have created a project to document these and other threats to media freedom. We use this information to campaign for change. And we offer support to some journalists via our Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship.
Please support our work today.
A donation of £20 ensures a verified attack against media freedom is mapped publicly online; a gift of £100 enables an official report to pressure governments; a gift of £1000 supports extensive fieldwork to identify and confirm reported violations.
Our goal is to raise at least £15,000 by the end of March. We raised £3,000 in the first four days of this campaign. Please help us to reach our target. Every contribution helps.