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The International Press Association (API-IPA), as representative of the Brussels based foreign correspondents, is deeply concerned about recent threats to the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in several European countries.

Journalists have a duty not to refrain from politically sensitive or critical questions. “Correspondents who asked last week for comments from the European Commission about the situation in Poland, were fully entitled to do so. Any intimidation on this ground is unacceptable”, says API-president Tom Weingärtner.

No person or authority has the right to demand that journalists only ask ‘good’ – read: politically correct – questions. Public criticism is one of the foundations of democracy. API-IPA stands up for these rights for all journalists, without distinction, in Brussels and elsewhere in the world.

API-IPA welcomes the statement from European Commission’s first vice-president Frans Timmermans in relation to the recent Polish case. (see https://tinyurl.com/ydysz7sx). But we urge the European Commission to exercise to the fullest its duties and powers as guardian of the treaties. This means: to assertively defend and uphold the right to freedom of expression and of opinion, without any interference by public authority, as laid down in art. 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (https://tinyurl.com/hqu2ot3)

The European Commission should therefore speak out forcefully time and time again whenever these principles are undermined by governments or institutions, whichever and wherever they may be.

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