Free media are a key pillar of every democracy and they are essential for a healthy market economy. On a global scale, the European Union remains a stronghold for free media, setting a standard as a democratic continent. Yet, there are increasingly worrying trends. Building on past efforts, the Commission has taken a number of measures to protect media freedom and pluralism in the EU. This has culminated in the European Media Freedom Act proposal, which was put forward by the Commission on 16 September 2022.
New rules to protect media pluralism and independence
The European Media Freedom Act proposed a new set of rules to protect media pluralism and independence in the EU. They will ensure that media – public and private – can operate more easily across borders in the EU internal market, without undue pressure and taking into account the digital transformation of the media space.
Among others, the Media Freedom Act aims to achieve:
|No interference in editorial decisions of media|
|No spyware against journalists|
|Independent and adequately funded public service media|
|Transparency of ownership|
|Transparent and fair audience measurement systems and allocation of state advertising|
|Establishment of a new European Board for Media Services|
|More protection for media against unjustified online content removal|
|Assessment of market concentrations and requirements on national measures affecting the media|
The Commission has also proposed to set up a new independent European Board for Media Services comprised of national media authorities. The Board will promote the effective and consistent application of the EU media law framework.
What are the benefits of the Media Freedom Act for journalists and other media professionals?
Journalists and editors will be better protected from undue interference in editorial decision-making and, in the case of public service media, have assurances that their employer is equipped with adequate and stable funding for future operations, in accordance with their public service mission.