22nd Oct 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity