Press Freedom Conference Sofia 2018

ENPA and EMMA in association with EFJ, RSF, AEJ, ECPMF, SEEMO and the UPB, held a conference on “Media Freedom and Pluralism” on Wednesday, 16 May, in Sofia, in the wings of the EU-Western Balkans summit.

Representatives of the press sector in Europe are very concerned about the situation in certain EU countries where press freedom is under serious threat. The opening speech was kindly given by Theodore Zahov, chairman of the Union of Publishers in Bulgaria (UPB).

The conference paid special attention to the challenges and opportunities of the Media in the EU as well as addressing the threats and pressures on Media freedom notably in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Malta, Serbia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Journalists from these countries, Tomasz Piatek and Hristo Geshov among others, seized the moment to share their stories on how their work and persons were hindered.

Valdo Lehari Jr, Vice president of ENPA, pointed out that “we [the media sector] have to work harder in the Parliament, with the politicians, to strengthen freedom of press on all levels so there is a common understanding.”

In his address, Michal Boni [MEP/EPP], highlighted the role of media in the effective functioning of democracy “by acting as public watchdogs while helping to inform and empower citizens."

Eventually, at the end of the conference, the Sofia Declaration on Media Freedom in Europe, called “Freedom of the media in Europe: Red Code” was announced.


The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats.

The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 14 national associations across 14 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.