December 30, 2020

17 April 2020: EU’s new rule of law mechanism must help uphold press freedom

Twenty-four press freedom groups and other civil society organisations send a list of recommendations to EU leaders on how a newly formed rule of law mechanism can help strengthen press freedom and media plurality.

This statement was originally published on on 17 April 2020.

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, has joined together with 23 other civil society partners to send a list of recommendations to EU leaders on how a newly formed rule of law mechanism can help strengthen press freedom and media plurality.

The joint recommendations, From blueprint to footprint: Safeguarding media freedom and pluralism through the European Rule of Law Mechanism, makes a series of proposals to the European Commission on how to strengthen the mechanism and effectively protect the press.

The letter and report, published today, were addressed to Vera Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, and Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice and will help inform EU decision-makers.

The European Rule of Law Mechanism was created in in July 2019 and is aimed at assisting the EU in upholding democracy and overcoming the limits of the Article 7 procedure.

A public stakeholder consultation was launched in March and is open until May 4 for contributions to the first Rule of Law report to be published later this year.

The letter and a link to the report follow

Dear Vice-President Jourová,
Dear Commissioner Reynders,

The launch of the European Rule of Law Mechanism and a dedicated chapter to media freedom and pluralism in the upcoming Annual Rule of Law Report are key opportunities to address the worrying state of press freedom in the EU.

We, the undersigned organisations, have joined forces and put together the attached recommendations on how to make the European Rule of Law Mechanism strong, timely, inclusive and representative of the challenges faced by journalists and the media sector.

Although we welcome the launch of the stakeholder consultation on 24 March, as well as the prospect of country-visits in each EU Member State, we believe substantial improvements can be brought to the Mechanism and Annual Report process, in order to effectively uphold press freedom and media pluralism and lead to concrete improvements for journalists and the media sector.

At a time when some member states are using the COVID-19 crisis to take emergency measures restricting the ability of the media and journalists to inform citizens, a strong stance from the EU to safeguard the rule of law is more than needed. This is why we urge you to make the most of the potential of the Mechanism and ensure it paves the way for a durable, critical and permanent process, going beyond monitoring and promoting the rule of law across the EU.

We thank you in advance for taking our concerns into consideration, and would welcome the opportunity to discuss these recommendations during a joint (online) meeting.

We look forward to your response,


Association Mondiale des Radiodiffuseurs Communautaires Europe (AMARC Europe)
Archiwum Osiatyńskiego
Budapest Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Free Press Unlimited (FPU)
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
International Press Institute (IPI)
Media Diversity Institute (MDI)
Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC)
Norsk PEN
PEN International
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM)
Stichting Democracy & Media
Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
DW Akademie
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation
Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)