Thursday

2nd Feb 2023

Emergency call on EU to save journalism

Day after day, cascading reports of some of the biggest names in journalism succumbing to the crisis strike fear in newsrooms around the globe.

In response, the European Federation of Journalists, (EFJ) has made an emergency call to the heads of all the political groupings in the European Parliament, warning that if the EU does nothing to save journalism, the sector is doomed.

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

  • The crash has hit journalism, a sector already in crisis. (Photo: EUobserver)

Arne Koenig, the president of the EFJ and Aidan White, the federation's general secretary, wrote to the parties on Friday (20 March), requesting they put the survival of journalism at the heart of their electoral campaigns and, after the June elections, ensure that whoever is nominated for the next European Commission be grilled to exact commitments from the EU executive body to protect journalism.

In the letter, seen by EUobserver, the journalist chiefs argue that the sector is "a cornerstone of European democracy," and as such has as much, if not more of a need to be protected as the banks and car companies that have received billions.

"Democracy requires the provision of reliable, accurate and useful information as a public good. This implies that we need people and resources to produce and circulate it. We believe that journalism and media professionalism, which is the creative heart of European media, must be protected, nourished and encouraged to develop."

They argue that the EU has been asleep at the wheel as economic disaster has engulfed the sector.

"When is the European Union going to wake up to the crisis facing media in Europe?" reads the letter.

"Over the past few months, the decline of journalism and media has been dramatically accelerating as a result of the recent economic downturn," the two journalists' leaders continue.

They note that the US sector has been hit particularly hard. Recently, giants from the Los Angeles Times to the Chicago Tribune, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Christian Science Monitor have announced they are either bankrupt, merged with distant sister papers or ended their print editions entirely.

Europe has yet to be hit with the staggering losses that have hit the US newspaper industry, which is why the EU needs to act now, Messrs Koenig and White demand.

They want the new commission and the newly-elected parliament to launch a public debate at national and European level, about the future of media in Europe, focussing not only on communications policy or media convergence.

The journalism chiefs said that instead the inquiry must delve into how the commission itself can act and how it is to guide member states in defence of the sector.

"We must examine how the architecture of European politics and the structure of the European Commission do not permit a proper and integrated examination of media policy and a mechanism for developing new initiatives that will guide member states in their navigation of the uncertainties created by the media crisis."

The EFJ has yet to receive a response from the leaders.

Opinion

EU needs a European Media Fund

Instead of gambling away our future as suppliers of journalistic content to Silicon Valley platforms, we should create our own European media initiative.

Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk

Draft legislation in Poland aimed at relaxing some of Europe's strictest laws surrounding onshore wind-turbines has been derailed by a surprise last minute amendment, which could put Poland back on a collision course with the EU.

Opinion

More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies

Industrial energy-intense sectors, outside Germany and France, will not move to the US. They will go bust, as they cannot compete in a fragmented single market. So to save industry in two member states, we will kill the rest?

Latest News

  1. EU green industry plan could spark 'dangerous subsidy race'
  2. Wolves should be defended, EU ministers urge
  3. EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border
  4. MEPs rally ahead of vote for gig-economy workers' rights
  5. Europe is giving more aid to Ukraine than you think
  6. Hungary blames conspiracy for EU corruption rating
  7. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  8. EU lobby register still riddled with errors

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us