Index on Censorship has filed an alert with the Council of Europe’s Platform to promote the protection of journalism following the UK government’s attempt to exclude selected journalists and media outlets from a press briefing yesterday. The platform is a public space aimed at facilitating the compilation and dissemination of information on concerns about media freedom in Council of Europe member states.
“We are increasingly concerned at the government’s attitude to media freedom,” said Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship. “This is the ninth platform alert relating to the UK since the beginning of 2019 – and a reply has only been received to one of those alerts.” The latest alert was sent by the Council of Europe to the UK government this morning.
“Last year the government launched its Media Freedom Coalition, but how can it be seen to be serious in its promotion of media freedom around the world if it cannot respect it at home? It is extremely concerning that the government’s ill-advised approach to the media, which saw a litany of incidents during the election campaign, has continued into 2020, including with threats to appoint a member of the Conservative Party as chairman of the BBC.”
Index on Censorship calls on the government to respect the role the media in holding power to account and to refrain from actions that impede journalists from carrying out their work. It calls on the government to engage with the Council of Europe by submitting timely and comprehensive replies to the platform.