picture alliance / abaca | Europa Press/ABACA
Public Letter on the role of the European Board for Media Services

ECPMF

15 September 2023

No Comments

14 September 2023

 

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

 

The negotiations on the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) are nearing their end in the European Parliament. While the Council and the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) have made some improvements to the text, many challenges remain. The vote in the plenary of the European Parliament will be crucial to the protection and promotion of media freedom and pluralism in the European Union.

 

If media is to remain free and independent, it needs to be on a sound financial footing. State revenue is one of the resources that must be distributed fairly and transparently. Article 24 of the EMFA is a welcome step in that it requires non-discriminatory and open procedures and criteria to be employed when attributing state advertising to media. However, the Article does not provide sufficient tools to prevent authorities from allocating public resources in an unjust and opaque manner. And while the CULT Committee introduced impactful changes to the text, it does not do enough to close several loopholes that exist.

 

In order for the EMFA to adequately address this issue, we call for:

  1. No reintroduction of the “1 million inhabitants” threshold for publishing information regarding state advertising.
  2. An EU-wide online database of state advertising that is easily accessible for the general public and which journalists and civil society can use to connect seemingly unrelated occurrences of public revenue allocation.
  3. Full inclusion of emergency messages, as introduced by Article 2 (15 a) of the Report of the CULT Committee, in the concept of state advertising, to prevent authorities from using catastrophes or states of emergency as justification for funding politically affiliated or friendly media.
  4. Regular and mandatory reporting obligations for authorities which are fully transparent and show the full allocation of state advertising, and which include information on media ownership. The reporting must be available to relevant independent and accountable regulators and resulting reports to all stakeholders.
  5. Monitoring of state advertising and state aid allocation to media, ensuring that enough data is collected by the Commission on the true state of these resources in a centralised manner.

 

In all the above-mentioned points, we support the Opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). We believe that if the Parliament incorporates the provisions the LIBE Committee proposed into its final text, the European Media Freedom Act will serve as an example of well-proportioned safeguards against undue state influence on the media sector. We trust that we can count on the European Parliament to strengthen the EMFA’s state advertising provisions and by doing so, ensure that media freedom can flourish in the European Union.

 

Sincerely,

1. Access Info Europe
2. ARTICLE 19
3. Association of European Journalists (AEJ Belgium)
4. Citizens Network Watchdog Poland
5. Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties)
6. Committee to Protect Journalists
7. European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
8. European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
9. European Partnership for Democracy (EPD)
10. Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
11. International Press Institute (IPI)
12. Ossigeno.info
13. Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
14. Society of Journalists, Warsaw
15. The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation

Read news by categories:

Related news

Press release

Save the Date – UNCOVERED Conference 2024

Back for a fifth year, IJ4EU’s UNCOVERED Conference will join forces in September 2024 with the annual gathering of the Incubator for Media Education and Development (iMEdD) in Athens.

READ MORE
Statement

MFRR partners call for lifting ban on journalists’ access to Georgian parliament

MFRR condemns the barring of journalists from reporting within the Parliament of Georgia.

READ MORE
Statement

Unterstützung auch für freie Journalist*innen: ECPMF und EFJ stärken Forderung des DJV nach Schutzkodex

ECPMF und EFJ stärken DJV's Aufruf, dass mehr Medienunternehmen den Schutzkodex für Journalisten beitreten.

READ MORE
Statement

Solidarity with Journalists in Gaza

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) expresses its steadfast solidarity with journalists working under unprecedentedly deadly conditions in Gaza.

READ MORE
Statement

ECPMF remembers Christophe Deloire

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) extends its deepest condolences to the family of Christophe Deloire, director general of Reporters without Borders (RSF).

READ MORE
Statement

Media freedom groups call on Slovakia’s Parliament to reject public broadcasting bill

Journalists and media freedom groups are urging Slovakia’s MPs to reject the proposed public service broadcasting bill.

READ MORE