Summary title: Petition No 0603/2020 by P.O.S. (Spanish) on the threats to the freedom of press during the COVID-19 outbreak
Petition number: 0603/2020
Topics: Fundamental Rights, Information Society and Media
Name: P. O.
The petitioner states that European journalists are facing multiple threats and more often they have to take risks to comply with their duty. The petitioner refers to the death of three European journalist in Northern Ireland (Lyra McKee), Malta (Daphne Caruana) and Slovakia (Ján Kuciak) in the past years. The petitioner also mentions Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on the freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impartial information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. The petitioner denounces that during the COVID outbreak journalists have suffered harassment to prevent them from exercising their professional work freely. The petitioner points out the particular case of Hungary where he considers that the freedom of the press is at risk. The petitioner considers that using the Coronavirus pandemic as a pretext, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has given himself full powers for an indefinite period and has approved a new law that punishes spreading false news. The petitioner believes that his new regulation is yet another tool at the service of the Hungarian political and judicial authorities to put pressure on the independent media. The petitioner urges the European Parliament to promote an impartial and rigorous investigation into the freedom of the press in the EU in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand. The petitioner also asks the European Parliament to form a permanent European forum that can regularly monitor the level of respect for the right to press freedom across the EU.