European Media Freedom Act

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ETSK:n lausunto: European Media Freedom Act

Key points

The EESC:

  • recalls that media freedom and diversity are key for the rule of law and liberal democracy;
  • deplores worrying developments in the EU and welcomes the European Commission's initiatives for media freedom;
  • considers that mere recommendations and a soft-law approach are not enough and rather that free and independent media must be a binding criterion for the rule of law report and mechanism;
  • is concerned about whether the completion of the internal media market is a sufficient approach for protecting media freedom and pluralism;
  • welcomes the European Commission's acknowledgement that media market concentration leading to monopolies can be a massive threat to media freedom and plurality. However, market concentration can be meaningful, and does not have to have such negative effects;
  • welcomes proposals to strengthen and defend editorial independence and stresses the need for upholding journalist and publishers' independence;
  • underlines the need for adequate and stable financial resources to ensure that public media are impartial and entirely independent;
  • considers that binding requirements for transparency of media ownership are important but that small media outlets should be exempt such requirements;
  • is concerned about the lack of independence of some national regulatory bodies, and calls for a framework ensuring their independence;
  • welcomes the creation of a European board for media services, insists on its full independence and the one of national regulatory bodies participating in it;
  • calls on the European Commission to react in accordance with the existing provisions of EU anti-concentration law where national regulators fail to address media market concentration;
  • welcomes binding transparency requirements with regard to the allocation of State advertising;
  • welcomes annual monitoring, calls for relevant stakeholders and civil society to be consulted, and proposes widening the monitoring scope to other aspects of media freedom and plurality.