Leveson II – EU aims to uphold media freedom and pluralism

Brussels, 21/02/2013. The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee adopted today the report by ALDE MEP Renate Weber (PNL, Romania) on an “EU Charter: Standard settings for Media Freedom across the EU”.

The Parliamentary committee calls on EU member states and the European Commission to take appropriate measures to ensure better monitoring and enforcement of media freedom and pluralism across the EU, given that this right has become legally binding with the entry into force of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 11 (2)).

EP rapporteur Renate Weber said, “It is of utmost importance that the Commission reviews and amends the current Audiovisual Media Services directive to widen up its scope to ensure its full application of the Charter of Fundamental rights”.

According to Mrs Weber, there is evidence that within the EU fundamental rights to media freedom and pluralism are not being uniformly respected.  “Unfortunately it is wrong to think that when a right is granted, it will never be violated. …. Hence, a mechanism of monitoring and reporting over the full respect of media freedom and pluralism across the EU countries should become a regular democratic exercise”. And, she concluded, “Without full transparency on media ownership we cannot guarantee media pluralism in Europe”

The report touches on a number of issues, such as:

1) Setting legally binding procedures and mechanisms as well as criteria in appointing public media heads, management boards, media councils and regularity bodies, respecting transparency, merit, integrity, professionalism and independence.
2) applying competition and media rules to prevent dominant positions, and requesting the Commission to propose concrete measures to prevent excessive media concentration.
3) drawing rules to address conflicts of interest, such as those resulting from amalgamation of political office and control over media outlets.
4) ensuring journalists’ independence, protecting them from pressure, intimidation and harassment.

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