Securing media freedom and diversity in Europe (own-initiative opinion)

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advies EESC: Securing media freedom and diversity in Europe (own-initiative opinion)

Key points

The EESC:

  • recalls that media freedom, including the safety and security of journalists, and media pluralism are cornerstones of liberal democracy. It therefore notes with regrets that the developments within the EU are alarming, although Europe overall remains a continent with free and diverse media.
  • considers that all EU Member States urgently have to take steps to preserve media freedom and media plurality and that it the EU institutions' obligation to act to enforce European values and guarantee the functioning of liberal democracy and the rule of law in all EU Member States.
  • welcomes the broad range of reports and initiatives by the European Parliament and the Commission, including the Commission's plan for a ''European Media Freedom Act'' to develop effective legal instruments to enforce media freedom and media pluralism in the Common Market.
  • supports measures for increasing the safety of journalists and underlines the necessity of a legal ban on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP). It also calls on the Commission to use the new general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget without delay to address the acute threat to media freedom and pluralism in some Member States.
  • considers impartial public support to media companies an investment in quality journalism, just as independent and impartial public broadcasting companies are an indispensable contribution to media plurality. The EESC proposes the creation of a fully independent European public service broadcaster.
  • underlines the importance of further developing media literacy and supports the proposal to set up a European Agency to bolster media skills of EU citizens through educational programmes.