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CoE Parliamentary Assembly calls for Increasing transparency of media ownership

posted on 23 July, 2015   (public)

CoE Parliamentary Assembly calls for increasing transparency of media ownership

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has recently asked the CoE member States to review their legislation to ensure transparency of media ownership, so that the public has access to specific information about the “ownership, management and editorial structures of media as well as their financing”. This information should be submitted by media outlets to an independent national media authority, according to the Resolution unanimously adopted on 24 June 2015 on the basis of a Report by Gülsün Bilgehan (Turkey, SOC).

PACE Rapporteur Gülsün Bilgehan had drawn inspiration from Peggy Valcke’s background report of September 2014 which had been prepared at the request of the Parliamentary Assembly. The report of the well-known media regulation expert, which was entitled "the Unbearable Lightness of Media ownership Transparency", addressed:

  • the importance of transparency of media ownership and the dangers of non-transparency,
  • the international/European/EU standards,
  • the  elements of such transparency,
  • the current practice in Europe,
  • what should parliaments in Europe do to improve the situation.

In their Resolution, the parliamentarians stressed that media ownership transparency is necessary to enable members of the public “to form an opinion on the value of the information, ideas and opinions disseminated by the media”.

By means of a Recommendation adopted on the same day, the PACE also requested the Committee of Ministers:

  • to review and further develop Council of Europe standards in this field (R (94)13; CM/Rec(2007)2)
  • to invite the European Audiovisual Observatory to consider extending its action in line with the technological convergence of digital media and report, for instance in the framework of its MAVISE database, about media ownership;
  • to co-operate with EPRA, in order to increase compliance with transparency standards in all member States and co-ordinate action;
  • to invite associations of media outlets to set-up, in a co-ordinated way, ethical standards on transparency of media ownership.

In parallel with the CoE PACE Resolution and Recommendation, transparency of media ownership is also high on EU's agenda in the context of the discussions surrounding the AVMSD REFIT exercise. The Florence-based Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) is also currently inviting submissions for its working paper series on Media Ownership and Financing Transparency.

At the next EPRA meeting on 29-30 October in Nuremberg, 52 broadcasting regulators will scrutinize the legal and regulatory toolkit to encourage diversity of sources and output, with a focus on transparency on media ownership.

Source: CoE PACE Website