The representatives of 25 media organizations and institutions signed a joint request to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection demanding it to hold online weekly press conferences that would be attended by journalists who would ask questions directly. The request was submitted on Monday, April 13.
This request was articulated amid journalists’ struggles with lack of transparency and limited access to information of public concern since the authorities declared the state of emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The representatives of the media argued that answering questions during online conferences will contribute to the accurate and fair information of citizens on matters related to the current crisis.
This initiative was undertaken by the Independent Journalism Center, which decided to form a journalists’ crisis cell to signal cases of limitation of access to information, of the freedom of expression or of the right to inform and will put pressure on the authorities to ensure that journalists’ rights are observed.
‘For several weeks, the government officials communicated unilaterally and selectively accepted the invitations to TV shows. Thus, many of our colleagues do not have the chance to ask the authorities questions that would provide clarity on the major issues that concern us all,’ explained the IJC in the announcement on the set-up of the crisis cell.