We are pleased to announce that the consortium running the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) – consisting of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), ARTICLE 19 Europe, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the International Press Institute (IPI), and Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBC Transeuropa) – has been 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.
In 2020 and 2021, the consortium – which also included the Institute of Applied Informatics at the University of Leipzig (InfAI) for its first two years – established, designed, and delivered the MFRR in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. As of April 2022, the United Kingdom is no longer a part of the MFRR mandate due to the UK no longer being a member of the European Union. As of May 2022, the MFRR region now also includes Ukraine.
Following the announcement, the Coordinator of the MFRR, Gürkan Özturan, said:
“The significance of defending free expression and the right to access information has once again been reiterated in the past year, with organisations across Europe working tirelessly to monitor, report, support, and advocate for issues related to press and media freedom. In the next 18 months of the Media Freedom Rapid Response we will continue monitoring press and media freedom violations, offering practical and legal support for journalists and media workers, and advocating for free and pluralistic media in EU member states, candidate countries, and Ukraine.”
The rapid response mechanism monitors, tracks, and responds to media freedom violations. Attacks on and threats to journalists, media workers, and outlets are observed and documented as alerts on the Mapping Media Freedom platform. Responding to these documented media freedom violations, the MFRR then offers legal support, practical support, and public advocacy.
Speaking about the objectives for the future, Head of Europe and Central Asia team, Sarah Clarke said:
“ARTICLE 19 Europe looks forward to the next phase of the MFRR, through which we will continue our work on combating SLAPPs and other legal threats to media freedom. The inclusion of Ukraine in the project will enable the coalition to provide essential support and protection to journalists there.”
ECPMF’s Managing Director Luz Kinkel highlighted the scope of the impact of the MFRR mechanism:
“Since the Media Freedom Rapid Response commenced in March 2020, it has developed into a highly effective instrument to protect journalists and foster media freedom. We recorded 1,341 alerts on our monitoring platform Mapping Media Freedom, we provided legal aid in 41 cases, and provided practical support for 81 media workers in need. We also produced over 200 advocacy outputs. This is only possible because of the intense collaboration among the consortium partners. The fight for media freedom motivates and unifies us.”
For its third term, Media Freedom Rapid Response will further strengthen our efforts to reach out to the most vulnerable groups among journalists – women journalists, local journalists, and media workers belonging to minorities or reporting about the issues they face. And we pledge to run coordinated, strong campaigns.
The new project started on 4 May 2022.
This announcement has been coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. This project provides legal and practical support, public advocacy and information to protect journalists and media workers. The MFRR is organised by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19 Europe, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBC Transeuropa). The project is co-funded by the European Commission.