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Author: Lorenzo Berardi

The risks and rewards of investigative journalism in Central Eastern Europe

Between October 2017 and April 2019 four reporters doing investigative journalism were killed in Europe: Daphne Caruana Galizia from Malta, Ján Kuciak from Slovakia, Victoria Marinova from Bulgaria, and Lyra McKee from Northern Ireland. Their deaths happened in different circumstances, but they were always related to their profession. Given that investigative reporting is public interest journalism, it should be safeguarded by governments. However this is not always the case in Central and Eastern Europe.

The independent NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) warns that in Europe “hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear.” Whereas the EU is no longer a safe haven for journalists, the media environment in Central and Eastern Europe has been deteriorating. The Visegrad Four countries have been plummeting in the Freedom House's Freedom of the Press and the RSF's Press Freedom Index rankings since 2015. Hungary dropped from 67th to 87th place on the Press Freedom Index between 2016 and 2019, while Freedom of the Press changed the status of Hungarian media from “free” to “partly free” in 2012.

August 26, 2019 - Lorenzo Berardi

The Family 500+: Poland’s new child benefit programme

Spotting a mum pushing a stroller down the main street of the Polish city of Radom is not easy these days. The town lies in the Masovian Voivodeship, the same region that Warsaw is in, but in recent years it has seen many of its younger residents moving to the Polish capital or migrating abroad in search of better opportunities. Today with its 217,000 inhabitants, Radom is still among the largest fifteen cities in Poland, but lack of jobs in its area and low wages are affecting its growth. Suffice it to say that in 1996 the city had 233,000 inhabitants, meaning that Radom lost 16,000 people – 7 per cent of its population – in just twenty years.

March 3, 2016 - Lorenzo Berardi

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