European Commission presents law to strengthen press freedom

European Commission
European Commission

THE European Commission presented a proposal on Friday to further strengthen media freedom in the European Union (EU).

“Journalists were killed for doing their job on European soil, journalists are spied on, public service media are under political pressure,’’ Commission Vice President, Věra Jourová said on Friday at a press conference in Brussels.

“Mafia-style’’ killings of journalists, hostilities at protests against COVID-19 measures, and national laws limiting press freedom were among issues in the EU listed in the 2022 Press Freedom Index published by the association Reporters Without Borders.

“This is the legislation for the times we live in, not for the times we would like to live in,’’ Jourová said.

The new legislation aims to increase transparency, strengthen editorial independence, protect public media from political influence, and protect journalists’ sources better, according to a commission press release.

The commission wants social media platforms to inform news outlets before removing content produced according to professional standards from platforms, Jourová said.

The proposal also provides for an EU-wide media freedom watchdog composed of national media authorities.

However, Jourová has previously said it will be “a big fight’’ to get the proposal approved by EU capitals.

In Poland public media has been turned `into instruments of propaganda,’ while Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “has built a media empire whose outlets follow his party’s orders’’.

He also said, “a climate of hostility toward journalists fostered by (former Slovenian) prime minister Janez Janša has led to physical assaults and online attacks’’ in the country, according to Reporters Without Borders.

EU countries and the European Parliament now get to scrutinise and amend the proposal. (dpa/NAN)