European Media Freedom Act: Commission starts consultations with call for evidence

Today, the Commission has started consultations on its upcoming European Media Freedom Act, a landmark initiative announced by President Ursula von der Leyen in her 2021 State of the Union address, to safeguard the pluralism and independence of the media in the EU internal market. Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: “Every day we see attempts by governments or private groups to put pressure on the media. It is high time we agree on common safeguards at EU level to protect the independence and the pluralism of the media so that journalists can do their work and inform citizens without fear or favour. We will consult broadly over the coming months to propose the best solutions”. Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, added: “In the face of significant changes in the media sector, we need a strong mechanism to increase transparency, independence and accountability of actions, which affect the control over media actors. Our task – or even more your task today – is to help us find the best approach to complement our legislative arsenal in view of ensuring the integrity and independence of the EU media market, in which media freedom and pluralism remain intact.” All stakeholders are invited to participate in a call for evidence published today on the Have your say portal in all EU languages. They can express their views on the Commission’s description of the initiative and explanation of why it is necessary and what it aims to achieve. Input can be provided until 21 March 2022. This call for evidence will be followed by an open public consultation, which is a detailed survey that will be published in January 2022 and open for several weeks. The European Media Freedom Act is planned for adoption in the course of 2022. It will build on the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive, it will aim to strengthen the internal market for media investments and operations in Europe and is also part of the EU’s efforts to strengthen democracy, within the European Democracy Action Plan. It will also complement the Media and Audiovisual Action Plan, which focuses on the viability, resilience and digital transformation of the media sector.