Friday

9th Jun 2023

EU should act on press violations, report says

Media freedoms throughout the Union are menaced by political interference, commercial pressures, and advertising interest, a new report published Monday (21 January) has said.

The study on the state of media freedom in Europe by a group of experts set up by the European Commission in 2011, calls upon the EU to take steps to secure media freedom and ensure its diversity.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • EU institutions should have greater oversight into press freedom violations in member states, says a new report (Photo: AK Rockefeller)

“For a democracy to function you need a well and informed citizen,” former Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga, who chaired the group, told euro-deputies in Brussels.

The report makes dozens of recommendations and says the EU needs to “act to protect media freedom and pluralism within its own borders” at the state level.

To overcome the threats, the report proposes a number of measures.

Each member state would need to have an independent media council with the power to impose fines on media outlets, order broadcasters to issue apologies, and strip a journalist of his or her status.

The councils would investigate complaints “but also check that media organisations have published a code of conduct and have revealed ownership details, declarations of conflicts of interest”.

The Vienna-based European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights agency should also issue regular reports on any risks to media freedom and pluralism in the EU. The European Parliament would then issue resolutions based on the reports.

The group also recommends setting up an independent monitoring centre, partially funded by the EU, and staffed by academia.

Aside from being a “moral compass”, the EU institutions should also “name and shame” those member states that are in obvious breach of media freedom.

EU institutions have little power when it comes to specific violations of press freedoms in member states.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights, part of the Lisbon treaty, notes freedom and pluralism of the media should be respected in a democratic societies but the charter applies only to EU institutions and the application of EU laws in member states.

But while the report recognises the limitations of the charter, it says member state cross-border interactions in justice and the internal market requires media freedom and pluralism to be guaranteed equally throughout.

“Certain national policies that restrict media pluralism and/or violate media freedom are naturally bound to also hinder the exercise of free movement to that member state by media companies or journalists,” notes the report.

Interview

Part of EU middle class 'being squeezed out', MEP warns

EUobserver interviewed Spanish MEP Jordi Cañas to discuss the situation of Europe's middle class, the dangerous political reaction if certain groups feel neglected, and the role that member states and the EU can play at the policy level.

MEPs to urge block on Hungary taking EU presidency in 2024

"This will be the first time a member state that is under the Article 7 procedure will take over the rotating presidency of the council," French Green MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, the key lawmaker on Hungary, warned.

Letter

Right of Reply from the Hungarian government

Authors Samira Rafaela MEP and Tom Theuns present as facts the extreme views of a politically-motivated campaign in the European Parliament. By doing so, they undermine the very foundations of the European Union.

Latest News

  1. Belgian bâtonnier on Russia: 'You can have a client you don't like'
  2. EU's proposed ethics body 'toothless', say campaigners
  3. Study: 90% of Spanish inflation 'driven by corporate profits'
  4. If Spanish economy is doing well, why is Sanchez poised to lose?
  5. EU lawyers for Russia: making 'good' money?
  6. The 'BlackRock exemption' has no place in the EU's due diligence directive
  7. Europeans don't see China as a rival, but weapons to Russia is a red line
  8. Cleaning workers urge Parliament: 'Europe should lead by example'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations
  2. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  3. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  4. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us