European Parliament calls for reinforced media freedom and pluralism

EU flagsBrussels, 21 May 2013. The European Parliament today adopted a report designed to reinforce media freedom and pluralism across the EU. The report ‘EU Charter: Structure setting for Media Freedom across the EU’, was carried by 539 votes (with 70 against and 78 abstentions).

The report offers a range of recommendations both to the Commission and to the EU member states. According to report author Renate Weber MEP (ALDE), “We need transparency of media ownership. We need to prevent excessive media concentration. We need rules to address conflicts of interests resulting from the amalgamation of political office and control over media outlets. We need independence of media supervisory bodies and journalists to keep all of us informed and politicians and public officials in check”.

Driving the report is the belief that the EU member states and the Commission need to establish better monitoring and enforcement of media freedom and pluralism across Europe, given that it is a right that has become legally binding with the entry into force of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 11 (2)). While the Commission consultation on the subject runs until 14th July, MEPs decided that they wanted to make a strong statement before the consultation closes.

“Any attack against a journalist should be considered an attack against media freedom and against EU citizens’ right to be informed,” states Weber. “Basic standards, such as journalistic and editorial independence, should not be missing from any newsroom. It is of great importance to have in each EU country a transparent and stable legislation that would protect journalists and their mission as watch-dogs of society”, she continues. “Unfortunately it is wrong to assume that when a right is granted, it will never be violated.”

The report also calls for annual monitoring at EU level of media freedom and pluralism across Europe.

© Philip Hunt, 2013.

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