The Corona pandemic has not only put health systems and economies to the test - democratic values such as freedom of the press and media have also come under pressure in this crisis. Never in recent European history has the climate for media professionals been harsher, never have journalists been subjected to hate so often. The spectrum ranges from hostility on social media to violent attacks when covering demonstrations. At the same time, the media have never been more important to our democracy than in times of a pandemic, which requires drastic measures that need to be thoroughly probed in public debate.
Despite this difficult mix, committed and capable journalists have continued to produce valuable contributions on migration, integration and cultural diversity over the past year. Topics that are not dormant because a pandemic is raging - rather the opposite: as is unfortunately often the case in times of crisis, social rifts have deepened and already vulnerable groups have been hit hardest - women, senior citizens and children, but frequently also people with a migration background. At times, Corona has even acted like an accelerant for discrimination, when, for example, Asian-looking people were sweepingly accused of spreading the virus.
Films that show those supposed to be different, podcasts that question stereotypes, articles that sort out the facts are therefore invaluable, especially in these times. As a former journalist and President of the European Parliament, I would like to thank the nominees and all their colleagues. They make an important contribution to peaceful coexistence in Europe. I am pleased that the CIVIS Media Prize is honouring your achievements again this year and wish you all the best for the event and continued successful work!