Standard Settings for Media Freedom: European Parliament adopts Resolution

posted on 21 May, 2013   (public)

On 21 May, the European Parliament approved the initiative report of Romanian MEP Renate Weber (PNL, ALDE) on the EU Charter by adopting a resolution on standard settings for media freedom across the EU.

The resolution calls on Member States and the 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)). 

"Ensuring the independence of media councils and regulatory bodies from the political influence of the government, the parliamentary majority of any other group in society" is one of the main lines of action proposed by the report which also calls on the Commission to review and amend the Audiovisual Media Service Directive to ensure that "the national regulatory authorities are fully independent, impartial and transparent as regards their decision-making processes, the exercise of their duties and powers and the monitoring process, effectively funded to carry out their activities, and have appropriate sanctioning powers to ensure that their decisions are implemented" (para. (2) and (34)).

The resolution calls on national regulatory authorities to "cooperate and coordinate at EU level on media matters, for instance by establishing a European Regulators’ Association for audiovisual media services, to harmonise the status of the National Regulatory Authorities foreseen by Articles 29 and 30 AVMSD by ensuring they are independent, impartial and transparent, both in their decision-making processes and in the exercise of their powers, as well as in the monitoring process, and to provide them with appropriate sanctioning powers to ensure that their decisions are implemented;"

The resolution also touches upon a wide range of issues and calls on the Commission and Member States to act upon:

  • 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;
  • monitoring media freedom and pluralism in all member states and publishing the findings published in annual reports followed up by proposals for action. This should be done by the European Commission, the Fundamental Rights Agency and/or the European University Institute (EUI) Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom.
  • revising the scope of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive to establish minimum standards for protecting the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, media freedom and pluralism. The revised AVMSD should include rules on the transparency of media ownership, media concentration and conflicts of interest.
  • ensuring journalists' independence, protecting them from pressure, intimidation, harassment.

The resolution was adopted by 539 votes to 70, with 78 abstentions.

- Report on the EU Charter: standard settings for media freedom across the EU (provisional version, P7_TA-PROV(2013)0203 from p.199)
- Plenary speech of Renate Weber
- EP Press Release

Source: Website of the European Parliament