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Freedom of the press under pressure: Ulrike Gruska from “Reporters Without Borders” speaks about protection for journalists


From a global perspective, freedom of the press is under great pressure. In Germany, too, journalists have increasingly threatened. The Kreisbildungswerk Freising addresses this in a lecture.

From a global perspective, freedom of the press is under great pressure.

In Germany, too, journalists have increasingly threatened.

The Kreisbildungswerk Freising addresses this in a lecture.


- From a global perspective, freedom of the press is under great pressure.

And in Germany, too, it is becoming increasingly difficult to work freely as a journalist.

As part of the “Year of Democracy”, the Kreisbildungswerk (KBW) wants to focus on the “International Day of Press Freedom” and has invited Ulrike Gruska from “Reporters Without Borders” (RSF) to an exchange on Monday, March 3rd. May, at 7.30 p.m. via Zoom.

The event is free of charge, but registration is required at

or Tel. (0 81 61) 48 93 20. Gruska will report on the current situation, especially in Germany and Europe, and answer all the questions that interested participants burn on the soul.

The status quo

KBW press spokeswoman Claudia Bauer on the motivation of the event: "Authoritarian regimes like in China have the media in their country almost completely under control and are even trying to enforce this control outside their national borders." The human rights organization "Reporters Without Borders" documents for 2013 a drastic deterioration of the situation for journalists in the world by 2020. "They are exposed to open hatred, physical violence and arbitrary judicial decisions," reports Bauer. “Prison sentences are not uncommon. Increasing populism and the use of so-called trolls on the Internet are making the work of the independent press increasingly difficult and bringing freedom of the press more and more into a mess. "

And not only far away from the German borders, explains Bauer: "No, journalists in Germany are increasingly having to struggle with headwinds, are threatened, defamed and prevented from doing their work - again and again with physical violence." 22 such physical attacks were recorded by the " Reporters Without Borders "in the" peak year "2018, in addition to numerous intimidation attempts and threats.

There are also attempts to use legislative initiatives to undermine the protection of sources and informants, which is so important for press work.

Independent reporting is the basis for a functioning democracy.

The speaker

Ulrike Gruska, press officer at “Reporters Without Borders”, is following developments around the world and in this country closely, says Claudia Bauer.

“The political scientist has a lot of experience.

Among other things, she was a correspondent in Moscow and Tbilisi and an editor at the network for reporting on Eastern Europe n-ost.

Today she uses her knowledge to support the worldwide work of 'Reporters Without Borders' - to protect journalists and to protect the great good of press freedom for our democracy. "

The interview

In the run-up to the event, Ulrike Gruska gave a brief overview of the current situation in an FT interview:

Ms. Gruska, "Reporters Without Borders" draws up a worldwide ranking list of the freedom of the press every year.

What is your current assessment?

Like a magnifying glass, the corona pandemic has bundled and strengthened the already existing tendencies in many countries - and unfortunately mainly the negative ones. It provides repressive regimes such as China, Iran and Egypt with a new pretext to suppress critical reporting. The threat posed by the virus has become a murderous argument for them, with which any opposition or criticism can be ironed out without them having to justify themselves too much internationally. The same thing is happening in Russia or Belarus - and even in an EU country like Hungary. In addition, even democratically elected heads of state - Donald Trump in the USA, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil or, in our direct neighborhood, the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jana - stir up hostility towards media workers.even call for open hatred.

In which place is Germany currently in the rankings?

Germany ranks 11th in the 2020 press freedom ranking and is therefore in the upper midfield of the EU countries.

The separation of powers works in our democratic order.

Independent courts ensure that minimum standards with regard to freedom of the press are actually respected.

Nevertheless, there are also serious problems in this country, which we describe in detail in our “Close-Up Germany”.

What exactly has RSF observed in this regard?

On the one hand, we are seeing more and more violence, verbal attacks and attempts to intimidate journalists.

In addition, legislative initiatives threaten the protection of informants and sources or are intended to intimidate media workers with cease and desist statements and prevent them from publishing.

The measures taken to contain the corona pandemic since March 2020 have once again drastically changed the conditions for journalistic work.

In addition to the difficult access to politicians, this applies above all to massive violence and threats against reporters at demonstrations, especially those from the “lateral thinking” movement.

What role do Reporters Without Borders play in the face of these developments?

Our organization is active in various directions to defend freedom of the press around the world. We document violations of this human right and alert the public when journalists are in danger. We are committed to more security and better protection for them. In political talks behind the scenes, we fight against censorship, against the use and export of surveillance technology and against restrictive media laws. We offer scholarships for persecuted reporters or train them in digital security. In summary: We support independent media professionals and try to give a voice to those who should be silenced by others.


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Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-05-02

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