On 5 October 2023, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Krišjānis Kariņš opened a conference on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in Riga, “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword? Meeting today’s challenges to freedom of expression and the safety of journalists”.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined in his opening address that freedom of expression and the safety of journalists was a long-standing priority for Latvia’s foreign policy, including for the Latvian Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.
The Foreign Minister noted that “independent journalism is vital for democracies to thrive in these challenging times of social media ubiquity and disinformation. We must work together to ensure the protection of journalists. Latvia fully supports the Council of Europe’s Campaign for the Safety of Journalists”.
The conference saw the launch of a campaign for the safety of journalists with the aim of calling on the Member States of the Council of Europe to put in place national plans and mechanisms for the protection of the safety of journalists. Latvia has paid a voluntary contribution in support of the campaign.
The conference taking place on 5 and 6 October in Riga during the Latvian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Office of the Ombudsman of Latvia, and the Council of Europe.
Latvia took over the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in May 2023. This is Latvia’s second Presidency since joining the organisation in 1995. The Latvian Presidency will last until November. During this period, Latvia is implementing its national priorities. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia is the Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The Council of Europe, created in 1949, is the oldest political organisation in Europe and includes 46 European countries. The organisation aims at building a common democratic and law-based space and ensuring adherence to, and safeguarding its fundamental values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law.