News Media Europe

Press publishers greet improvements to Media Freedom Act

Press releases , December 15, 2023


-Brussels, 15 December 2023-

Today EU Institutions finalised a political agreement on the European Media Freedom Act. News Media Europe is glad that many of our recommendations have been taken onboard.

We applaud in particular measures against media capture by the state. For the first time, it is written black and white in EU law that governments must not interfere in the media’s operations and editorial decisions. The allocation of state advertising, sometimes used as an instrument to asphyxiate private media, must from now on be transparent and fair. State ownership and potential influence must also be disclosed.

The higher level of protection of journalists and their sources is a win (Article 4). Wout van Wijk said: “Spying on journalists and media companies is and will never be okay. The media community has been heard, and we acknowledge efforts from EU negotiators to strictly frame derogations.”

Citizens’ access to independent and professional information online remains a major battle. We are satisfied that preventive measures for media visibility on large social networks and search engines have been retained, in particular the 24 hour stay up obligation. However, there is a strong risk that compliance with the Digital Services Act be raised as passe-droit as a means to over-remove journalistic content.

Wout van Wijk added: “Platforms’ crisis response and risk mitigation measures cannot be used as blanket justifications to take down media content. It should not work that way. Large platforms are not exempt from media freedom rules.”

For the sustainability of the press it is important that news title can consolidate and benefit from investments. We are satisfied that the assessment of a media concentration remains at national level, close to the transaction. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of considering the economic viability of the company and allowing newsrooms to continue operating. Opinions from the European Board should not slow down this process, nor should EU guidelines restrict consolidation for survival.


Aurore Raoux, EU policy manager:

News Media Europe is the voice of the progressive news media industry in Europe, representing over 2,700 news brands in print, online, radio and TV, through national associations from sixteen countries. Together, we defend key principles which are vital to us: protecting the freedom of the press, championing the digital future of our industry, and ensuring that the value of content is properly protected.