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EU Council stresses need for reinforced cooperation between independent regulators

posted on 28 November, 2013   (public)

EU Council stresses need for reinforced cooperation between independent regulators

The Council of the European Union, which gathered on 25 - 26 November 2013 in Brussels in its Education, youth, culture and sport configuration, adopted key Conclusions on media freedom and pluralism in the digital environment on 26 November.

The Conclusions essentially address three main issues: ensuring transparency of media ownership, the protection of journalists from undue (political and economic) influence and protection of journalistic sources, as well as the independence of audiovisual regulators.

With specific regard to regulatory authorities, the Council and the representatives of the governments note that:

"6.  the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the regulatory framework within the EU for audiovisual media services, contributes to the fostering of media freedom and pluralism. A crucial role in the enforcement of this framework lies with competent audiovisual regulatory authorities in Member States";

Furthermore, the Council and the representatives of the governments agree that:

"14. cooperation and sharing of best practice among audiovisual regulatory authorities and other relevant competent authorities contributes to the functioning of the EU single market and to an open and pluralistic media landscape;"

Among other measures, the Council invites the Member States to:

"18.  ensure the independence of their audiovisual regulatory authorities;"

In addition, the Council invites the European Commission to:

"24.  strengthen, through non-legislative actions, cooperation between Member States' audiovisual regulatory authorities and promote best practice as regards the transparency of media ownership;"

The Council also invites the Commission to continue to support the Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM), implemented by the European University Institute of Florence and encourage its further use. Furthermore, it emphasises the important role of the Council of Europe in setting standards for media freedom and pluralism and that the cooperation with that body should be further continued and strengthened.

The Education, Youth and Culture (EYC) Council brings together education, culture, youth and communication Ministers around three or four times a year. It usually adopts its decisions by a qualified majority (apart from on cultural affairs, where it acts unanimously) and in codecision with the European Parliament.

Source: Council of the European Union website