Germany takes over from the Netherlands as new MFC co-chair

FMs NL Germany Estonia hi res
Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot of the Netherlands, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of Germany, and Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna. Image credit: Photothek

Germany has been announced as the new co-chair of the Media Freedom Coalition, joining Estonia, which became co-chair in 2023.

Germany succeeds the Netherlands, which completed its two-year term as co-chair in January 2024.

Promoting freedom of the press is a particular priority for the German Government, which has further stepped up its efforts in this direction in recent years.

In 2022, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Claudia Roth, launched the Hannah Arendt Initiative to support and protect at-risk media professionals. The initiative enables at-risk journalists to continue their work in exile.

In 2023, with Germany becoming a member of the Executive Group of the Media Freedom Coalition, the Federal Foreign Office demonstrated its commitment to international cooperation and established important milestones for the protection of media professionals.

In January 2023 the role of co-chair was formally handed over by Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot of the Netherlands to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of Germany.

The Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Margus Tsahkna, was also present for the handing over.

Posting on the platform X/Twitter, Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said, “The Netherlands has been a proud co-chair of the Media Freedom Coalition for the past two years, continuously advocating for media freedom both at home and abroad. I am pleased to pass the baton to my colleague [German Foreign Minister] Annalena Baerbock as Germany succeeds the Netherlands as co-chair today.

“I am confident that we are leaving the Coalition in capable hands under the leadership of Germany and the remaining co-chair, Estonia. We remain a committed member of the Media Freedom Coalition and pledge to support UNESCO’s Global Media Defence Fund.”

FMs NL Germany baton handover
Image credit: Photothek

Germany, represented by the Federal Foreign Office, will work with Estonia this year to strengthen the MFC’s network of like-minded countries.

Margus Tsahkna, the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said via X/Twitter: “It was my great honour yesterday to thank the Netherlands for the excellent cooperation during our chairmanship of the Media Freedom Coalition and congratulate Germany for starting as a new co-chair. Looking forward to uniting our efforts for improving the situation of media freedom globally.”

The Media Freedom Coalition is led by two rotating co-chairs, which each serve a term of two years. The co-chairs are also part of a larger Executive Group, which is the primary strategic decision-making body of the MFC. Having stepped down as co-chair, the Netherlands will remain part of the Executive Group.

Read more reaction from Germany’s Federal Foreign Office here.

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