European Commission presents follow-up actions from Fundamental Rights Colloquium on media pluralism and democracy

Today, the European Commission publishes the follow-up actions from this year’s Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights, dedicated to fostering and improving media pluralism and democracy. The discussions in which journalists, academics, NGOs and politicians participated, were focused on six key points: 1) protecting media freedom and independence from political pressure, 2) safeguarding the independence of the media, 3) protecting journalists and their freedom of expression, 4) preventing hate speech against journalists and new media actors, 5) defending whistleblowers and investigative journalists and 6) promoting media literacy as well as media ethics. The European Commission defined a number of actions to attain these goals. This includes a call for a swift adoption of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive by the Parliament and Council in order to strengthen the independence of regulatory authorities of the media. The Commission also recommends the swift adoption of the revised Copyright Directive, which should ensure a sustainable financial basis for the media. In order to protect journalists’ freedom of expression, the Commission wants to monitor and enhance public awareness on media freedom and pluralism, encourage dialogue with civil society, business and new media. It will also offer funding for independent projects on the freedom of expression and support projects tackling hate speech against journalists. To enhance the protection of whistleblowers, the Commission will assess whether further EU level legislation is necessary to strengthen their protection. Finally, the European Commission will undertake a number of actions to increase media literacy. This includes funding for media actors, industry, researchers and NGOs to explore issues such as the ‘filter-bubble’ effect and the roles of algorithms.