International Press Freedom Day

  • May 3, 2022

Today is International Press Freedom Day, a day to reflect on the importance of independent and free media. Free press is constant striving, verywhere in the world.  As the war in Ukraine shows us once again. 

The theme of 2022 is 'Journalism under Digital Siege', about the impact of the digitisation of society on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information and privacy. 

According to the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters without Borders, Belgium is now ranked 23 out of 180 countries. Yet, this does not mean that there are no problems or threats in our country.

Flanders supports investigative journalism and the independence of journalists, and also propagates this abroad. For example, Flanders gives financial support to Flemish professional associations and to the Council of Europe for the Safety of Journalists platform.

With the Safety of journalists platform, the Council of Europe responds to the increasing threats against journalists and media professionals in Europe. In cooperation with 14 leading press freedom organisations, the Council of Europe is working on an early warning system for reporting violations. By engaging in an early dialogue with member states and encouraging investigations, violations of press freedom and journalists' rights can be effectively addressed and may even lead to amended legislation. 

The European Court of Human Rights of the Council of Europe has repeatedly emphasised that the press is the watchdog of democracy. A free press ensures that the three state powers are monitored. In this way it also protects other human rights and the rule of law as a whole.