Journalists describe our world.
They are the ones who provide citizens with information and enable communication, day after day. That is why it is particularly important to me – also as a former journalist – to say to you on the occasion of the CIVIS Media Prize 2019: You are seen, and you are appreciated!
In the past year, the European Parliament has been an unwavering defender of the freedom of the press. We have publicly condemned, in the strongest terms, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and all measures to silence those journalists who aim to unveil the truth. We shall continue to demand strict international investigations to clarify the circumstances of their murders. We shall campaign to ensure that reporting is not deemed a crime, and we will continue to fight for the strengthening of human rights all over the world.
For this reason, the European Parliament demanded in October the EU-wide protection of informers. Whoever wishes to protect journalists must also ensure the safety of their sources. It must be possible for every person, and especially every journalist, to report news, to highlight grievances or to uncover fraud and corruption without having to fear physical or psychological violence.
That also means providing whistle-blowers with legal, financial and psychological support. Just as we in the European Union advocate upholding general human rights throughout the world, we also campaign to ensure that you can follow your career and your calling to the full extent.
The CIVIS Media Prize points the way in terms of how reporting should look. Only when people like you have the chance to illustrate reality in a detailed manner, based on unhindered research, can not only Europe, but the whole world be a place in which people can communicate openly and intensively with each other and join together. The regulation of migration, integration and cultural diversity sends an important signal against growing nationalism and populism.
At a time when people are fleeing their countries in desperation, the European Union must stick together and provide them with a better perspective for the future. The European Union means diversity, and is regarded as a continent of freedom, not only for us Europeans. Our association of states is perceived as such all over the world, and it is down to media professionals like you to continue drawing this picture and showing the world what must still be done, in order for us all to live in peace. The elections to the European Parliament will be held in the EU from 23 to 26 May 2019.
Every eligible voter can therefore actively determine the direction that should be taken by the European Union. Each vote contributes to making the interests of EU citizens an issue for the European Union, and to strengthening the Union as a community. If the EU enters our field of vision to a greater extent, that means above all that Europeans form the central focus. It is therefore worthwhile for each individual to accept the challenge that faces us, in order to continue maintaining the European Union as a place of peace, freedom and stability.
President of the European Parliament