World Press Freedom Day: Commission stands up for media freedom and pluralism
Today, on World Press Freedom Day, the Commission reaffirms its commitment to defending media freedom and pluralism in the EU and beyond. On this day, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, addressed the European Parliament and said: “This year I would like to pay tribute in particular to journalists who are in the frontline in Ukraine. They inform us at the risk of their lives. They show us what Russia does not want us to see. Our first priority is their safety. At the same time, we are strengthening our action in the EU, with new legislation against abusive litigation against journalists presented last week, and the Media Freedom Act in the making.”(see also her video-message). Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, added: “Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine reminded us that media freedom and pluralism, which protect our democracies, cannot be taken for granted. We will continue to support our media industry, to protect our journalists under threat, and to fight relentlessly for our free and independent press. With the upcoming Media Freedom Act, we will foster a resilient media market, which delivers diverse and reliable information to citizens”. Yesterday, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell issued a declaration on behalf of the EU. In 2020, for the first time, the Commission presented a comprehensive European approach for the media building on the European Democracy Action Plan and the Media and Audiovisual Action Plan (MAAP), which aims to boost European media and help maintain European cultural and technological autonomy in the Digital Decade. Last week, the Commission adopted a package to tackle Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), providing journalists and human rights defenders with tools to fight back against abusive court proceedings. This package complements the Commission’s Recommendation on the safety of journalists, laying down actions such as the creation of independent national support services, including helplines, legal advice, psychological support and shelters and measure to ensure their safety online. Later this year, the Commission will also adopt the European Media Freedom Act, which will enshrine for the first time in EU law safeguards to protect media pluralism and the editorial independence of the media. Media pluralism is one of the key elements of the annual Rule of Law Report and, in this context, the Commission continues to monitor the situation in all EU Member States. The Commission also continues to provide financial support to foster media freedom and pluralism.