In these uncertain times, World Press Freedom Day is a chance for the EU to guarantee publishers and journalists the freedom they need to carry out their jobs, writes Christian Van Thillo.
by Christian Van Thillo is CEO of de Persgroep and Chairman of the European Publishers Council.
Here’s an alarming statistic for World Press Freedom Day: according to a Council of Europe study published last week entitled Journalists under pressure, 53% of the 1,000 European journalists polled have suffered violence, intimidation or self-censorship whist attempting to do their job. As a newspaper publisher, I find this particularly offensive. Publishing companies are commercial entities, but we have integrity at our core and our raison d’être is to seek the facts, to hold our leaders to account, to investigate and to inform as well as to entertain – our journalists are the lifeblood of our newspapers and magazines, and the newsrooms of our TV channels. We fund, train, equip and legally protect our journalists so that they can ask the difficult questions and sort the truth from the noise or propaganda. In this era of “fake news”, it is worth remembering that our journalists and editors are the ultimate fact-finders and fact-checkers. As the publishers, we take the risks, we pay the journalists, and, most importantly, we go on the record and defend what we publish in court if necessary.
Read more at EurActiv.