Media and artistic freedom are not empty phrases. They are the cornerstones of a healthy society and a functioning democracy, while the emphasis here is on functioning. Only when these two fundamental rights are filled with meaning and exercised freely can media and art act as the all-important corrective in democracy. We see, unfortunately, that attacks on the media and press have again intensified in the past year of the pandemic. Whether it is openly on the streets - or indirectly through structural changes or tax policy - media freedom is at risk across Europe and we urgently need to find effective ways to better protect the independent press and media.