On 25 June 2016, representatives of 20 journalists associations, publishing houses, academic institutions, trade unions and media rights experts from many European countries founded the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
Based in Leipzig a team of six starts working after the Centre has now been established as an independent non-profit European Co-operative Society (SCE). The co-operative’s mission is to unite Europe’s highly fragmented media freedom community and to address media freedom violations in EU member states and beyond.
Violations of press freedom will be observed, researched, registered and continuously reported to both the public and the political spheres. The ECPMF will work as a registration office, and as contact point for organizations and individuals.
Henrik Kaufholz, is head of the Danish investigation initiative SCOOP and appointed the first Chairman of the Executive Board. He states the ambitious aim of the Centre:
“The Centre is meant to be the lighthouse of press freedom in Europe. It will bring together different initiatives and promote closer co-operation among European activists. We will strive for common standards of media freedom across Europe.”
Board Member Ljiljana Smajlović, Head of the Serbian Journalists’ Union stresses the urgent need for institutions that will heed the warnings of journalists on the ground and urges Brussels to listen too. “Many violations of media freedom are under the radar of European politicians”.
Amongst the founding member organisations are the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the regional branch of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which has 600.000 members worldwide. The campaigning organisation Index on Censorship also joins as a founding member. With the Russian Mass Media Defence Centre and academic institutions from Greece to Portugal, the Co-operative includes a wide spread of different interests in the legal, journalistic, academic and freedom of information communities.
Journalismfund.eu is one of the ECPMF’s consortium partners, together with the Media Foundation of the Sparkasse Leipzig, the Institute of European Media Law (EMR), a Europe-wide network of over 180 legal experts, journalists’ and monitoring organisation Ossigeno per l’informazione, think thank and online journal Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso and South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO).
Find the official press release with all board members and supervisory board members here.