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Dear reader,
 
Yesterday, 01 June, marked an important day in the history of ECPMF as we welcomed Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency in the European Commission, to the ECPMF office as part of a visit to Leipzig to discuss media freedom, pluralism, and the safety of journalists; in particular in the context of Russia's war in Ukraine, as well as the preparation of the European Media Freedom Act. Below you can find some key talking points from the discussions with Vice President Jourová, officials of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, the Saxonian Government, the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, ECPMF staff members, and Journalists-in-Residence from Ukraine.

The session opened with introductory remarks from Dr. Harald Langenfeld, Chair of the Media Foundation Leipzig. Dr. Langenfeld emphasised the value of media freedom, and the importance of media knowledge and literacy: 
 
"How can one be reliably informed about what is happening in the world? In particular young people are exposed to a mass of false reports on platform media. Anyone who wants to form his/her opinion on political discourse needs media knowledge and skills." – Dr. Harald Langenfeld, Chair of the Media Foundation Leipzig
 
Following Dr. Langenfeld's introduction, Conrad Clemens, State Secretary of the Free State of Saxony addressed the room. In his remarks, Mr. Clemens spoke specifically about journalists under attack, referencing the murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak
 
"The Free State of Saxony is a long-time partner of ECPMF – your work is more important than ever. We see media freedom under attack; we know the cases in Malta, Slovakia, even in Germany. We cannot mention the name of Daphne Caruana Galizia often enough." – Conrad Clemens, State Secretary, Free State of Saxony
"ECPMF’s only purpose is to protect and defend media freedom.
That’s all that we do 24/7." – Dr. Lutz Kinkel, Managing Director of ECPMF
At the beginning of May, we announced that the MFRR Consortium, led by ECPMF, was granted €1.95 million in funding for 18 months from the European Commission to continue its work to defend and support press and media freedom throughout all EU member states, candidate countries, and Ukraine. Reflecting on this, ECPMF's Managing Director, Dr. Lutz Kinkel, spoke about the strengths of the consortium leading the MFRR, noting that  "the MFRR is the most important instrument funded by the European Commission to make its recommendations on the safety of journalists come to life." Looking ahead to the coming 18 months, he continued "We will deliver more practical support than ever. We will campaign for the protection of journalists, for the rule of law, against SLAPPs, and against state capture".
"Society does not always recognise the role of media and the existential need to get information. We need the people to be hungry for trustworthy information." – Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency in the European Commission

Following this, the floor was handed to Vice President Jourová who emphasised hers and the European Commission's commitment to supporting press and media freedom. While highlighting the importance of commemorating journalists who have been killed, the Vice President noted the need to do more to support journalists before they face potentially fatal consequences for their work: 
 
"It’s important to give awards to journalists who paid with their lives. But we need to pay tribute to those who are living – to protect them more."
"Journalists in Ukraine now do incredible work. Thanks to them we know about Bucha and Mariupol – we know about Russian crimes in Ukraine. They tell the truth, and we know that Russia wishes to hide these truths. The price for this truth is often our lives." –
Maria Tsiptsiura, 
Ukrainian Journalist-in-Residence
The day closed with a discussion between Rebecca Harms, former MEP and Vice Chair of the ECPMF Executive Board, and two ECPMF Journalists-in-Residence from Ukraine: Maria Grinevich and Maria Tsiptsiura. Vice President Jourová heard from the two journalists about their experiences as the war in Ukraine first broke out, the dangers facing their colleagues who remain in Ukraine, and the financial instability of the profession. In response to this, it was noted that the European Commission had previously provided a €6 million support package for Ukrainian journalists and that another €15 million has been prepared. The initial package was put towards emergency support including salaries, relocation costs, and protective equipment. The new package will be used to support media in difficult financial situations. The Commission has an officer in contact with media on the ground in Ukraine who is able to provide input. 

A full summary of the day's events, including photos from the ECPMF team, will be available shortly on the ECPMF website. An overview of the key talking points can also be found on ECPMF's Twitter

Best,
Jordan Higgins,
Press and Policy Officer
Save the Date: European Anti-SLAPP Conference
ECPMF and the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) will organise the first European Anti-SLAPP Conference under the patronage of the European Parliament. The conference will take place on 20 October 2022 in Strasbourg, France and will open with keynote speeches by the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola and the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová (to be confirmed).
 
Learn more
Relaunching IJ4EU
Bigger and bolder, the Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) fund is back, offering critical support for cross-border investigative journalism in Europe.

The Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) fund will allocate €1.23 million in grants to cross-border projects across Europe in 2022/23, offering a lifeline for watchdog journalism in troubled times. Back for a fourth edition, IJ4EU has secured core financing from the European Commission to continue its work fostering collaboration between European journalists as they tackle transnational subjects in the public interest.

 
Learn more
The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) is a non-profit organisation that was founded in Leipzig, Germany, 2015. It operates on the basis of  the European Charter on Freedom of the Press and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The vision of the Centre is a society where media freedom enables open discourse and everyone can seek, receive and impart information. ECPMF’s mission is to promote, preserve and defend media freedom. We do this by monitoring violations, providing practical support and engaging diverse stakeholders across Europe. We lead the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) mechanism.

The ECPMF is supported by: European Commission, Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, Free State of Saxony, the City of Leipzig and diverse project funding.

 
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European Centre for Press and Media Freedom SCE ltd

Menckestraße 27
04155 Leipzig, Germany

Phone: +49 341 200 403 13
E-Mail: info@ecpmf.eu

Cooperative register of the District Court Leipzig: GnR 534

Executive Board:  
Yannis Kotsifos (Chair), 
Galina Arapova, Rebecca Harms, 
Stephan Seeger, Ljiljana Smajlović

Chair of Supervisory Board:
Lucie Sýkorová

Managing Director: 
Dr Lutz Kinkel

www.ecpmf.eu