Stop the erosion of the European Media Freedom Act

ECPMF

04 July 2023

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The European Media Freedom Act is one of the most promising initiatives by the European Commission during the current legislature. The freedom of the media and the press needs protection even in the European Union. ECPMF continues to support the goals of the European Commission and in particular Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, in this regard.

 

However, we are highly concerned by the proposed amendments to Article 4, advanced in the negotiating position adopted by the EU Council. These expand the list of crimes that would justify the deployment of surveillance against journalists and their sources (Article 4.2) and include a new national security exception based solely on Member State discretion (Article 4.4). This proposal can lead to more spying on journalists and their sources, which is totally against press freedom and will shrink the space of press freedom.

 

These amendments run directly against the original intention of the highly needed European Media Freedom Act, which should introduce safeguards against political interference and media concentration, and protect journalists and their sources against surveillance. The Council amendments instead are a threat to journalists and their sources.

 

Thus, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom firmly urges the European Parliament as a robust defender of press freedom to remedy this great harm and not accept the expansion of legal bases justifying surveillance of journalists and the new national security exception, introduced by the European Council. Instead, ECPMF urges the Parliament and its Committees to strengthen the Commission proposal, bringing it in line with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights, and Council of Europe standards.

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