Colloquium on Fondamental Rights: focus on Media Pluralism & Democracy

by Eric Munch (Observer) posted on 13 December, 2016   (public)

Colloquium on Fondamental Rights: focus on Media Pluralism & Democracy

On 17-18 November 2016, the European Commission held its Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights, focusing this year on media pluralism and democracy. It brought together EU, national and international policy makers but also editors, journalists and regulators, joining forces to promote and protect pluralism and freedom of the media in the European Union.

The discussions revolved around the following key goals and actions to be undertaken in order to reach them:

  • Protect media freedom and independence from political pressure and safeguard the financial independence of the media in the European Union

The discussions pointed out the need for a swift adoption of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and revised Copyright Directive by the Parliament and Council; the first as a means of strengthening the independence of regulatory authorities and the second to ensure a sustainable financial basis for the media.
  • Protect journalists and their freedom of expression

The Commission wants to enhance and monitor public awareness on media freedom and pluralism, encourage dialogue with civil society, business and new media.
  • Protect journalists and new media actors from hate speech

The Commission will also provide fundings for independent projects on freedom of expression and projects tackling hate speech against journalists.
  • Protect whistleblowers and investigative journalism

The Commission will soon assess the potential need for further EU legislation to protect whistleblowers.
  • Promote a healthy political debate and lasting political engagement through media literacy, media ethics and media pluralism

The Commission plans to undertake a series of actions to increase media literacy, including funding for media actors, industry, researchers, NGOs to explore issues such as the "filter-bubble" effect and the roles of algorithms.

Prior to the colloquium, the Commission ordered a special Eurobarometer survey on the topics of media pluralism and democracy. This survey, the results of which were published on 23 November 2016, explores citizens' opinions about the diversity of views provided by the media and their perceptions of the independence of the media. It provides extensive data for every member State of the European Union and puts them into perspective with the rest of the EU.

The EPRA Secretariat