Fighting for free media: The ECPMF

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Europe’s media and journalists have a new advocate: The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, the ECPMF. Founded in June 2015, after several years of preparation, it is now ready to defend media freedom in Europe.
25 representatives of media organisations or media outlets, among them Journalismfund.eu, SEEMO, Index on Censorship and the European Federation of Journalists, came together to establish this new pan-European NGO. The need for it derives from a lack in the application of the European Charter on Freedom of the Press, so it is the goal to ensure the realization of this regulations in all EU-countries.

Visit the new ECPMF.

The ECPMF is based in Leipzig, Germany, and wants to unite the European media community. It acts independently from political or economical interests, but partners with other international organisations to fulfil its aims. It wants to bring together all fields of the media landscape: individuals, but also academics, the industry, publishing and journalism unions and other media organisations.

Activities to foster media freedom

One of the tasks of the ECPMF will be to work as registration centre for breaches of media freedom and regulations in the Charter on Freedom of the Press. An online reporting point accessible to everyone was already introduced. Here, one can leave note about any violations of freedom of the press so that the centre can investigate the case.
Furthermore, it offers a residence programme for endangered journalists, will conduct research missions, will provide media and journalists with diplomatic and legal aid and will raise awareness for the topic of media freedom in general, for example through initiatives and petitions. In addition to this, measures for journalistic professionalisation like trainings and further education will be offered. Also the European Journalism Prize will be donated in the future.

Plans for 2015

Currently, the centre is initiating its first projects. The final starting signal for the ECPMF activities will be the European Media Freedom Conference, which will take place in Leipzig. Germany, on October 8-9, 2015. Participation is free of charge and a hardship fund might cover costs for journalists in financially difficult situations.. The programme and registration can be found here.
Later this year, in cooperation with the Osservatoria Balcani e Caucaso, the Online Media Freedom Resource Centre will be opened. It will be a systematized online collection of news, analyses and tools and media freedom in general. It should thus be a helpful and accessible database for all groups concerned with the right to freedom of speech and free media. Whoever wants to make own work accessible via the new Ressource Centre can contact the organizers.
The ECPMF is open for every media professional to become am member, this includes private persons as well as organizations. The membership fee amounts to EUR 100,00, but makes the member at the same time a holder of one share of the ECPMF not-for-profit co-operative. Members will not only have access to an impressive European media network, but also have the right to participate in the organisations decision-making process and to vote on decisions. All members have to agree to the code of conduct.