I am delighted to have read over the weekend, and to have been officially presented today, with a keenly awaited report into the practice of media freedom and pluralism in the European Union. The lead author is Prof. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga. (The other members were Professor Herta Däubler-Gmelin, Professor Luís Miguel Poiares Pessoa Maduro and Ben Hammersley).
It is remarkably wide-ranging; it touches on the work of many of my Commission colleagues.
It is also highly political and addressed quite a few legally complicated issues. So, while I would say it is an essential round of evidence gathering and thought leadership, the appropriate next step is a very serious and EU-wide political debate, including public consultation. I want to hear what you think! Send your feedback to CNECT-TASKFORCE-MEDIA at ec dot europa dot eu
After recent events concerning media freedom and pluralism, for example in Hungary but really in quite a few Member States, many – including indeed many journalists – complained that the EU was not doing enough, and does not have sufficient powers to act to protect freedom and pluralism. On the other hand, I am also aware that there are risks to freedom and pluralism from having too much power, or acting too much. And that is exactly why I would like a political debate, with all stakeholders contributing.
The report contains recommendations for consideration by a number of Commissioners on matters such as appropriate EU powers in this field, regulator independence, competition and media pluralism, journalist codes of conduct and net neutrality.
There’s be a more detailed Commission reaction once we’ve received more feedback and pushed the political debate forward. Report available here.