News Media Europe

Media Freedom Act contributions

Position papers , March 22, 2022

News Media Europe submitted its input to the public consultation on the Media Freedom Act and the European Commission call for evidence on 21 March 2022. The documents can be downloaded below:

In our view, the European Commission should envisage a legislative proposal only in areas where EU intervention is genuinely needed to fix anti-competitive behaviours (e.g. from big tech), state interference and single market barriers. On the contrary, national legislation seems more suitable for areas that have historically been best dealt with at national level to accommodate cultural markets’ specificities ie. media content rules, self-regulation, journalistic standards, codes of ethics, etc.

A European Media Freedom Act should:

  1. Maintain the media largely self-regulated to preserve a free and independent press.
  2. Protect newsrooms from political pressure. Ensure strict separation between governmental agenda and editorial decisions, and political accountability to all journalists, not just pro-government media.
  3. Tackle state interference by making state advertising subject to transparency and fair state aid distribution rules. Clarify that state advertising is illegal if allocated in a discriminatory manner.
  4. Enforce AVMSD rules on the legal and operational independence of regulators with the support of ERGA and the Commission.
  5. Recognise the benefits of industry consolidation on media pluralism and financial viability. Prohibit restrictive concentration rules and facilitate cross-border mergers.
  6. Protect editorial independence from platforms’ moderation practices and establishing fair competition with big tech to preserve press publishers’ sources of revenues (copyright, advertising).
  7. Enforce existing AVMSD rules on ownership transparency. Preserve Member States’ discretion on how to make information genuinely accessible.
  8. Fight intimidation suits, consistent with efforts under the upcoming anti-SLAPP Directive. Promote non-judicial remedies available to citizens via self-regulatory bodies.
  9. Track Member States’ efforts in applying the EU Recommendations on the Safety of Journalists through indicators and progress reports. Provide remedies to journalists denied accreditation or access to public documents.
  10. Promote the financial viability and independence of private media through coordinated European investments (Media Action Plan) and regulatory strategies (DSA, DMA, Copyright, zero-VAT rate).

For more information, please contact:

Wout van Wijk, Executive Director

Aurore Raoux, EU Policy Manager