MFRR SUMMIT – Criminalising Europe’s Free Press: Legislative Threats to Media Freedom

Laws that target media freedom reconfigure the landscape away from journalists, media workers and outlets. Throughout 2020, countries across Europe, oftentimes using the COVID-19 pandemic as cover, took to creating, reforming or rescinding different laws with an aim to undermine journalistic safety, media pluralism, as well as the transparency and accountability of those in power. Where the rule of law is weak, these laws are enacted with little opposition and scrutiny, leaving journalists having to navigate a new and curtailed landscape, within which they continue to hold the powerful to account. This leaves too many journalists vulnerable to regulatory abuses, arrest and detention, fines or the closure of outlets or platforms. Led by ARTICLE 19, this panel will dissect the legal landscapes of Albania, France and Turkey, looking at proposed defamation reform, restrictions on the press’s engagement with police and a systemic erosion of the legal foundation that protects journalism.


  • Prof. Dr. Yaman Akdeniz, İfade Özgürlüğü Derneği (Turkey)
  • Besar Likmeta, BIRN Albania (Albania)
  • Sarah Massoud, Syndicat de la Magistrature (France)
  • CHAIR: Sarah Clarke, ARTICLE 19 (UK)

The online panel will take place on Friday, 19 March 2021 from 14.00 to 15.00 – Turkey time.