Thursday

19th Jul 2018

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join 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.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

Feature

Resetting the gender balance through football

Many sports, like football, have been so heavily male-dominated at every level that women and girls have battled against poor odds to be treated as equals in the game. FIFA aims to change that.

Opinion

EU needs comprehensive 'sexuality education'

The subject is mandatory by law in some form in nearly all EU countries - but it is mostly reproduction- and biology-centred, covering topics such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections.

News in Brief

  1. Trump threatens EU over Google fine
  2. Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Catalan separatists
  3. EU readies counter-measures on possible US car tariffs
  4. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's 'Stop Soros' law
  5. EU warns Turkey on anti-terror bill
  6. Report: EU secretly scorns UK's Brexit paper
  7. Hungary: UN treaty could 'inspire millions' of migrants
  8. Nato reacts after Trump disparages Montenegro

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us