Criminal persecution for libel should be cancelled Terry Davis
No one can suppress the truth for ever, but some people never stop trying. It is journalists who pay the price said Terry Davis on the occasion of the 2006 World Press Freedom Day.
As a rule, journalists in the 46 Council of Europe member states are no longer tortured or killed, but that does not mean that they are always free to do their work.
The European Convention on Human Rights, calling on public authorities to refrain from interfering with freedom of expression, is frequently ignored.
Some journalists may be silenced through intimidation, others may be bought into compliance, but the end result remains the same because democracy cannot properly function without media which is genuinely free of governmental interference and
A particularly insidious form of intimidation is the threat of prosecution for libel. In fact, more than two thirds of the Council of Europe member states maintain criminal sanctions for defamation, and these laws are often used to stifle criticism. I call on all Council of Europe member states to review their legislation, abolish criminal provisions and prevent disproportionate damages in civil cases against journalists. Progress in the protection of journalists is the only credible way to mark the World Press Freedom Day.