In a conference organised by the European Parliament on “Monitoring media freedom and pluralism in Europe”, Members of the European Parliaments (MEPs) called for actions to be taken by member states and European institutions to guarantee media freedom and pluralism.
The conference hosted by MEP Silvia Costa (Chair of Culture and Education Committee) and MEP Claude Moraes (Chairs of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee) debated with stakeholders, including representative of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Renate Schroeder. In particular, MEPs have highlighted the Media Pluralism Monitoring tool as a way to trigger further action among member states to address the issue.
MEP Costa said, “We should aim to promote permanent action in the EU to address the issue of media freedom and pluralism. Member states should be aware of the Media Pluralism Monitoring tool and use it to track their progress.”
While MEP Moraes agreed on the importance of media pluralism, he believes that the Parliament and Commission have little role to play in terms of EU legislation. “Media Pluralism falls in the competence of member state,” said MEP Moraes.
Elisabeth Markot, policy advisor of the European Commission (DG CONNECT) on media policy said that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights does give competence to the EU to act on the issue. She also emphasised that the Parliament has an important role to play in proposing and leading the action to ensure media pluralism and freedom.
The conference also highlighted the deteriorating media freedom in Hungary as an urgent case that requires action.
MEPs praised the important role played by journalists in ensuring media freedom and pluralism. They recognised the need to work with journalists’ organisation to address the issue.
Concluding the conference, MEP Costa proposed to extend the application of the Media Pluralism Monitoring tool to enlargement countries. The tool should also include online media, linguistic and cultural diversity as indicators.
The EFJ has been calling for action from European institutions and MEPs to address the issue of media pluralism. In its Manifesto prior to the European Parliament election, over 200 canidates MEPs have signed up to the Manifesto which calls for legislative action to ensure media freedom.