Why doesn’t the EU protect freedom of the press in member states? | DW Analysis

Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed by a car bomb in Malta. Reporter Ján Kuciak shot dead in Slovakia. Veteran crime journalist Giorgos Karaivaz assassinated outside his house in Greece.

These crimes didn’t occur in shaky democracies or rundown dictatorships; they happened in the European Union.

While Europe as a whole remains relatively safe, risks for journalists are mounting in many EU countries. Reporters on the streets of well-established democracies like Germany or the Netherlands risk physical attacks from members of the public, and they can be virtually under siege on social media.

Many European countries do a lot to protect journalists, and most at least pay lip service to the value of free media. But in some countries, press freedom is under blatant attack and individual reporters are being threatened, by EU governments no less. Repressive laws, commercial takeovers and financial regulations all have a broader impact than harassing individual journalists.

And yet the European Union does next to nothing. EU institutions regulate many aspects of life for the bloc’s 450 million inhabitants – why can’t they figure out something as important as freedom of the press? Why can’t the EU get its own members to stick to shared values of media freedom? And how does this affect democracy?

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