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Report It campaign encourages threatened journalists to speak out

Posted on: September 21, 2020 by Mariella Brown

A new campaign by Media Freedom Rapid Response has been set up to track attacks on press freedom in Europe.

Every threat – from physical attacks and arrests to smear campaigns and attempts to censor journalistic output – should be reported to the Mapping Media Freedom platform (MMF) which will help build a clearer understanding of the threats to press freedom.

By entering this information to the platform, Media Freedom Rapid Response can offer direct support to the media worker(s) affected.

The platform has already seen 241 alerts from 30 countries documented since the start of 2020. Alerts submitted in the UK include the online harassment and threats to a BBC disinformation reporter and the blockading of newspaper print works by climate change activists earlier this month.

Campaign partner the International Press Institute (IPI) said that it is wrong that violations, abuses and aggressions have become so frequent against journalists. The press freedom body urged that this behaviour “should not be normalised or accepted as the price of being a journalist”.

In a statement, IPI said: “To protect press and media freedom, we need an accurate picture of the forces that threaten it. To do this, we must collect and verify as much information as possible. That is why the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), of which IPI is a partner, has launched the ‘Report It’ campaign to create awareness and encourage everyone to play a role in documenting and reporting the many violations committed against journalists and media workers across Europe.

“Threats and violations against media actors are not right and they should not be tolerated. Instead, they should be reported.”

Threats may include: physical attacks that require hospital treatment, arrests and detention, vexatious legal actions, harassment and smear campaigns, to attempts to censor journalistic output, ban journalists from government events or bring forward laws restricting media freedom.

How can you report an incident?

These are the simple steps to Report it:

  1. Go to: https://www.mapmf.org/report-it
  2. Add the subject (a title for the threat i.e. ‘Journalist threatened at protest in Paris’)
  3. Include a description of the threat with as much detail as possible to help us verify the alert. This can include hyperlinks
  4. Include the date of incident
  5. Add the location
  6. Press submit

The Europe-wide campaign follows this summer’s launch of the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, the new UK government-backed initiative aimed at ensuring the safety of journalists.

Joined by the Society of Editors on its panel, the committee’s first objective is to develop a National Action Plan which sets out a framework through which the safety of journalists can be ensured and they can be protected from physical harm and threats of violence.