A Mission to Inform: Journalists speak out

The CoE published a major book in late 2020 detailing the experiences of key journalists in dealing with threats, hostility and intimidation, surveillance and cyberattacks.

Co-authored by William Horsley, AEJ UK chairman and AEJ international media freedom representative, and Marilyn Clark, associate professor of psychology at the University of Malta, the book – A Mission to Inform: Journalists at risk speak out – aims to provide a new rationale and impetus for protecting journalists more effectively from physical and legal attacks, exclusion and online harassment, and the impact of climates of impunity when journalists are attacked or murdered.

The book was based on “in-depth interviews with 20 journalists from 18 different countries selected for their experience and skill in reporting in the public interest and exposing injustice and abuses. Each … shared their insights into the realities of doing cutting-edge journalism to bring the truth to light; they spoke about their first-hand experience of threats, hostility and intimidation, surveillance and cyberattacks, and about self-censorship, resilience and coping strategies, as well as about what they portray as routine failures by state authorities to give journalists the protection they need to fulfil their public watchdog role.”

It was launched on October 14 coinciding with the third anniversary of the death of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. It includes the last interview she gave only 10 days before she was killed while reporting on corruption issues.

It follows up a study in 2017 involving nearly 1000 questionnaires answered by journalists which revealed grave statistics concerning the risks they faced and is aimed at analysing how journalists responded to pressures exerted on them and what solutions they found to overcome fear and continue being able to fulfil their public watchdog mission.

The foreword by the CoE’s Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law notes that journalists across member states face various forms of pressure and intimidation meant to silence and hinder their ‘mission to inform’ – “worrying given that democratic societies can only function if media actors can report on matters of public interest without interference and without fear”. 

A Mission to Inform
Report on book
CoE book launch
Last interview with Daphne Caruana Galizia
Daphne Caruana Galizia
CoE Platform for Journalists