A breakdown of the key points from: « The Media Freedom Act: a step forward for journalism in Europe? »

Discussion autour du Media Freedom Act

Picture : Loriana Candela/IHECS

With Anahi Vila (Belgium), Director for European Affairs for regulator of the French Community of Belgium currently presiding ERGA, Liz Corbin (United Kingdom), Head of news at EBU, Marie Frenay, member of the vice-president Vĕra Jourová office, Maja Sever (Croatia), President of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).

Moderated by Clothilde Goujard, journalist at Politico.eu.



The issues

The Media Freedom Act is a European Commission project under construction. One of its core aims is to prevent political interference in journalism within member states. Implementing common working standards across Europe is also key to the legislation. The text, still under debate, is far from being adopted unanimously- while many journalists and professional bodies support the move, some argue that the measures don’t go far enough.

The quotes

Marie Frenay: « Laws regulating media platforms already exist – the Media Freedom Act aims to bring complementary measures to such legislation.

« We are trying to find a balance to solve the issues and be sure the specificities of some countries are respected. »

Anahi Vila: « We think a common base is needed but it can’t be too restrivtive. If something already works, it doesn’t have to be changed.

« In terms of sanctions [for breaches of existing legislation], one can indeed question whether they are efficient and go far enough. »

Maja Sever: « For such legislation to really work, we should establish clear rules of conduct instead of just recommendations.

« We think that building and ensuring independence of media is the most important goal for member states. »

Liz Corbin: « Technology platforms are largely unregulated and incredibly powerful. »

« The erosion of public trust in journalists and in the media in general should be a key concern for everybody, not just the public service. »

The takeaways

The Media Freedom Act is an ambitious and historical piece of legislation. The European Commission hopes to forge a common working basis for journalism and the media in terms of freedom and independence across memeber states. It aims to solve various problems encountered by journalists in Europe through the tool of regulation. Moreover, a further package of recommendations can be implemented as EU-states see fit.

That said, being able to efficiently implement the Media Freedom Act raises legitimate questions. Some people think the measures don’t go far enough, such as in terms of sanctions in the case of non-respect of the regulation.

Loriana Candela (IHECS)