Democracy & Justice

Liberties' October Recap | Rule of law, Media Freedom Act & Polish Election

A monthly round-up of Liberties' work: rule of law gap analysis, the hits and misses of the latest Media Freedom Act draft, and Poland's brighter future.

by LibertiesEU

Democracy Drinks, Wednesday 18th October

Welcome to Liberties' monthly round-up, where we catch you up on the most pressing human rights topics we've been working on. This month, we worked with our member organisations to highlight gaps in the EU Commission's Rule of Law Report, using our own shadow report as a benchmark. Following the European Parliament's plenary vote approving its position on the Media Freedom Act we're pleased to see MEPs included some of Liberties' recommendations, however, there is still room for improvement. Last but not least, following the Polish opposition alliance's sweeping election victory, we sat down with rule of law expert Dr. Maria Skóra to learn what this means for Poland's future.

In a nutshell

ABC of Persuasive Messaging: Liberties’ Head of Framing & Messaging Israel Butler led a workshop on persuasive messaging for INCLO, to boost their campaign to ban facial recognition technology.

Liberties in Rome: Eva Simon, Liberties Tech & Rights Lead, contributed to a panel discussion, hosted by OBC Transeuropa discussing how EMFA can protect journalists and promote media freedom in the EU.

Rome, Take II: As part of the same event, Senior Advocacy Consultant Linda Ravo took part in a roundtable discussion on SLAPPs.

Reclaim Our Civic Space: Linda Ravo presented the findings of Liberties’ Rule of Law Report 2023, and recommendations to the EU Commission on improving dialogue with civil society at the Brussels-based conference.

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In focus

European Commission’s Rule of Law Report 2023: Gap Analysis

Liberties and its members have published a new analysis on the gaps and shortcomings of the European Commission’s latest report on the rule of law in Europe, highlighting a number of areas that were under-scrutinized or overlooked by the Commission. This was timely, as earlier in October the EU General Affairs Council continued conducting country-specific discussions focusing on three countries included in Liberties’ report: Germany, Estonia and Ireland. Gaps highlighted by our assessment include a lack of contextual, in-depth and intersectional analysis, the continued disregard of the impact of human rights violations, as well as areas of improvement in the reporting cycle. Read more here.

The European Media Freedom Act Entered the Next Phase of Negotiations

The European Parliament adopted its position on the draft European Media Freedom Act. Ahead of the trilogues, Liberties reflected on the positive developments in the draft text, as well as some rejected amendments concerning media privilege and spyware. During the legislative process, multiple changes were made to the original text of the Act, and it improved significantly. The European Parliament has included safeguards for media pluralism, media freedom, and access to information, however, Article 17’s media privilege and the use of spyware against journalists in certain cases is worrying. Learn more.

European Commission Must Uphold Transparency and Rule of Law in Drafting Rules to Combat Child Abuse

Liberties and other key human rights organizations have sent an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressing our concern over the drafting of the regulation to combat child abuse (CSAR) and how this process may have undermined the rule of law, the independence of the Commission and the democratic values of the EU. The Commission is accused of using prohibited ads and giving select AI industry stakeholders special access to the legislative process. Read the full story here.

Democracy Drinks Berlin: Polish Post-Election Analysis: Law and Justice or the Rule of Law?

With Poland's opposition sweeping a victory in a divisive, parliamentary election, Liberties sat down with Dr. Maria Skóra from the Institut für Europäische Politik to understand what was at stake with this election, and how the ousting of the Law & Justice party will shape Poland's future. Read on.

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Member's Corner

Network news

Lithuania failing in transgender rights: According to Human Rights Monitoring Institute, the latest update to an annual transgender rights index puts Lithuania near the bottom for respect of transgender rights in Europe, with people's rights significantly under protected in numerous areas. Read on.

Approved reform of torture laws a step backward: Associazione Antigone, alongside Amnesty Interational Italy warn that modifications of the law against torture, which is among the Italian government’s reform packages, is an attack on the human rights system and would bring Italy out of step with international norms. Learn more.

Fictional trial: The Belgian League of Human Rights took part in a fictional trial hosted by Festival des Liberties, simulating a legal conflict between a housing authority and environmental campaigners over the fate of biologically valuable land intended to be used for social housing. Titled “Living in the city, living on the earth”, it questions the crises that cities are facing: climate crisis and access to housing. Read more


Democracy Drinks, Thursday 23rd November

Join Liberties at Democracy Drinks, where we invite special guests to discuss the most pressing human rights issues happening in Europe. More details to come. As always our meet up point is in Richie’s Café & Bar in Kreuzberg.

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Take care,

Eleanor & the Liberties Team

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