The European Media Freedom Act must protect media from capture by political forces

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is co-signing together with other civil society organisations a policy brief on the upcoming European Media Freedom Act (EMFA), as the European Commission is currently finalising the draft proposal. We thank the European Commission for taking on this task and the ambition it has to deal with fundamental threats to Europe’s media landscape. We take this opportunity, as a coalition of journalists, media freedom groups and human rights groups, to develop our statement of 9th May and to address issues around the European single market, media ownership and transparency of economic relations with the…

EFJ warns that EU legislation to prevent child abuse online would undermine protection of journalistic sources

The European Commission published on 11 May a proposal to fight against child sexual abuse online. According to the draft regulation, messaging applications would be required to scan all private communications, including encrypted messages. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is concerned that the legislation could jeopardise the fundamental protection of journalistic sources. The European Commission’s proposal requires providers of electronic communications services “to detect, report and remove” child sexual abuse on the internet on both “public-facing” and “private interpersonal” communications services. According to the European Digital Rights (EDRi), the automatic scanning of everyone’s private communications is disproportionate and interferes with the right to…

Open letter: Protecting digital rights and freedoms in future legislation to tackle child abuse

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined EDRi and 46 civil society organisations in jointly raising voices to the European Commission to demand that the forthcoming EU on ‘Legislation to effectively tackle child sexual abuse’ complies with EU fundamental rights and freedoms. Tackling the online dissemination of child sexual abuse and exploitation material (CSAM) is an important part of the broader global fight to protect young people from sexual abuse and exploitation. In particular, this fight requires a comprehensive approach by governments and companies to prevent such egregious crimes before they happen. In the context of the upcoming EU legislation to…

Europe Day: Open Letter to European Commissioners for a strong Media Freedom Act

On the occasion of Europe Day 2022, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined 16 journalists, human rights and press freedom organisations in reiterating the vital role of a free, independent and pluralistic media in safeguarding Europe’s values. The upcoming European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) is a unique opportunity to tackle the threat of media capture, ensure media financial sustainability in Europe and build a robust and resilient media ecosystem across member states. With this letter, the undersigned organisations urged the European Commission to take an ambitious approach to the EMFA to help counter the increasing threats to media freedom,…

Digital Services Act: EU agreement reached

On 23 April, European Union co-legislators (European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of Ministers – national governments) reached a provisional agreement on the Digital Services Act (DSA), a new set of rules for online platforms, search engines, online marketplaces and other significant providers of digital services. The DSA will fully enter into force in the first quarter of 2024, and for very large online platforms already four months after the publication of the final text in the EU official journal. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed this agreement as an indeed overdue set of regulation to nail down…

EFJ contribution to the European Media Freedom Act

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has submitted its contribution to the European Commission’sPublic consultation for the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) on 24 March 2022. The EFJ has welcomed the initiative as an overdue action to reconcile unprecedented threats against independent journalism and media including politicisation, such as so-called state capture, lack of transparency in media ownership, increased threats on independent public service and unfair allocation of state funding. The questions include the important issue of self-regulation, the work of media authorities but also the need to create an enabling environment for media. The EMFA proposal aims to increase…

​Policy paper: How the EU can protect public watchdogs from abusive lawsuits

The Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), which reunites journalists, press freedom, and other rights groups – including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) – has been advocating for an EU anti-SLAPP directive for two years. As part of the public consultation launched by the European Commission, the CASE coalition has submitted the following policy paper to inform the upcoming EU initiative. Accessible here, the paper explains what SLAPPs are, provides preliminary and previously unpublished data from CASE research on SLAPPs mapping in Europe and sets out recommendations on what governments and the EU should do tackle the problem. Here…

EU Digital Services Act: journalistic content must be protected from interference by online platforms

Updated (03/12/2021) The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed the proposed EU Digital Services Act as a long overdue and crucial tool to create a safer, fairer and more accountable online environment. The journalists’ community believes that the DSA must be stronger in order to guarantee a digital media ecosystem based on trust and audience engagement, in particular in the fight against disinformation. Today the platforms determine who sees when and what – based on their content recommendation systems, algorithms and terms and conditions. The power of the big platforms and gatekeepers has contributed to the market failure we face…

EU Rule of Law report: Little bark, no bite

On 20 July, the European Commission published the 2021 Rule of Law Report. The document, which is the outcome of months of painstaking work, can be a valuable tool that empowers civil society, the EU institutions and Member State governments who care about the rule of law in the Union. The Report, comprised of a Communication that covers EU-wide developments and country chapters for each Member State, is designed “as a yearly cycle to promote the rule of law and to prevent problems from emerging or deepening and to address them … It seeks to strengthen the rule of law in…