On 17 February 2020, Solidarity with OTHERS, Fedactio and Intercultural Dialogue Platform organised a panel discussion in Brussels titled “Europe’s Challenge for Freedom of Expression: Rethinking Europe’s Role in Safeguarding Freedom of Expression and Media.”
Moderated by journalist Selçuk Gültaşlı, the panel’s speakers were journalist Guillaume Perrier and Ernest Sagaga, the Head of the Human Rights Department at the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The event was followed by journalists, representatives of think-tanks, participants from various EU institutions and politicians.
The speakers touched on the declines in freedoms in the face of rising authoritarianism in the EU and in its neighbourhood. They pointed out that freedom of expression is essential as it is instrumental in defending other liberties and that attacks against the media are also attacks on the society as they infringe on the right to be informed.
The speakers also talked about the EU’s apparent complacency vis-à-vis authoritarian tendencies encroaching on freedom of expression and media in its neighbourhood, pointing out the risk of EU being increasingly associated with autocrats as opposed to values such as democracy and transparency. They underlined that some EU funds should be directly linked to standards in media freedom.
The panel ended with speakers answering questions from participants.