November 15, 2023

Media Freedom in Europe under Siege?

Event Series: Free Speech at the Crossroads: International Dialogues

Showing the Media Freedom in Europe under Siege? Video

Violence against European journalists has led to the introduction of the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA), which will theoretically protect media institutions across the European Union. But while the legislation has been hailed as an important boost to press freedom, a recent revision allowing for the use of spyware against journalists has received support from seemingly democratic countries like France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and Greece. In fact, many critics suggest that freedom of the press is in a uniquely fragile state throughout Europe. Some incidents, including a raid by French authorities on the home of a journalist, have caused grave concern. Will the EMFA truly protect European journalists? Or does it lack meaningful safeguards?

This event is co-sponsored by the Free Speech Project (Georgetown University) and the Future of the Humanities Project (Georgetown University and Blackfriars Hall and Campion Hall, Oxford).


Sharon Moshavi is the president of the International Center for Journalists. She first joined the organization as digital media director in 2007 and later became senior vice president for new initiatives. Previously, she worked at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, helping promote and launch the first News Challenge. In more than 15 years as a journalist, Moshavi covered North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Hamas’ rise in Gaza, India’s economic reforms, and the growth of Fox News and CNN.

Fulvio Orsitto directs the Villa Le Balze, Georgetown University's study center in Fiesole, Italy. He was previously director of the California State University study abroad program in Florence. He holds a Ph.D. in Italian cultural studies from the University of Connecticut and has published numerous essays and book chapters on Italian and Italian-American cinema, as well as Italian literature, including The Other and the Elsewhere in Italian Culture and Cinema and Risorgimento: Visions and Re-Visions (2011).

Jessica White leads research for Freedom House’s new stream of work on Media and Democracy, with a focus on Europe. She formerly served as research analyst for Freedom on the Net, Freedom House’s annual survey of internet freedom in 70 countries around the world. White has supported international engagement and programming at the Royal Society of Arts in London, the British Embassy in Madrid, and the National Democratic Institute in Washington, DC.

Michael Scott (moderator) is senior dean, fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, college adviser for postgraduate students, and a member of the Las Casas Institute. He also serves as senior adviser to the president of Georgetown University. Scott previously was the pro-vice-chancellor at De Montfort University and founding vice-chancellor of Wrexham Glyndwr University.

Sanford J. Ungar (moderator), president emeritus of Goucher College, is director of the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University, which documents challenges to free expression in American education, government, and civil society. Director of the Voice of America under President Bill Clinton, he was also dean of the American University School of Communication and is a former co-host of "All Things Considered" on NPR.