Participants in a conference on media freedom in Sofia called European Union institutions to protect the media from the authorities in central and eastern Europe following threats and murders.
The conference was organized on the fringes of the EU-Western Balkans Summit in the Bulgarian capital.
Journalists and newspaper publishers from 10 European countries called the EU to set up a media freedom fund to protect media and journalists and support investigative journalism.
“The combination of various factors, such as journalists’ murders and physical threats against them, growing political and institutional pressure, repressive legislation targeting the media, destructive technologies and the financial crisis, put the existence of free media in a number of European countries at risk. Two journalists’ murders in five months, the first in Malta and the second in Slovakia, show an alarming decline for the democracies of the continent”, a declaration adopted at the conference said.
The conference participants focused on the deteriorating media environment in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Serbia.