International Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day has been celebrated on May 3 every year since 1994. This year several organisations and politicians have pointed out that the situation for media professionals and their recipients in Europe and across the globe has deteriorated in many places, also in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Europe's press takes stock.

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Aamulehti (FI) /

Freedom of information must be defended every day

Criticism and transparency are part of democracy, Aamulehti stresses:

“In Finland too, there have been worrying attempts in recent years to restrict journalists' access to information. The police have recently become much more restrictive in their information policy, for example. ... There are also signs that attempts are being made to conceal information in the decision-making process as a precaution. However, the law is clear in this respect: official documents are public unless other provisions apply. ... The truth is not always pretty, and sometimes transparency leads to criticism. And that's how it should be in an open, democratic society.”

Deutsche Welle (RO) /

Laziness and withdrawal

If press freedom is in a bad state, it's not necessarily due to the politicians, the Romanian service of Deutsche Welle argues:

“In Romania the greater threat is complacency and intellectual laziness. ... The crucial questions are often not asked at press conferences, and increasingly political statements are taken for granted without being filtered or placed in a larger context. ... Overall, the quality of journalistic work is declining. Not only because the superficiality of many who practise the profession has increased to the same degree as their conscience has diminished, but also because many experienced journalists have switched to better-paid jobs.”

RTV Slovenija (SI) /

Politicians come and go, journalists remain

Journalist Antiša Korljan strikes an optimistic note in his column for RTV Slovenija, in spite of the Slovenian government's pressure on the media:

“The media have a whole slew of problems in Slovenia. The government's action may not even be the biggest among them. However, the market also fulfils its function for the media, and the worst of them will be the first to lose their customers. ... History shows numerous examples of politicians who despised the media and did everything to make life difficult for them. The latest example was Donald Trump. Today he's a 'former president' and the media are still doing their job. It will be no different in Slovenia.”