European Commission introduces law to 'protect media pluralism and independence'

This draft legislation was notably designed so that the media in several countries of the European Union, including Poland and Hungary, can operate without private or public interference.

The European Commission presented Friday for the first time a draft regulation for “protect media pluralism and independence” in the face of the deterioration of the situation in several countries of the European Union, including Poland and Hungary. “In recent years, we have witnessed various forms of pressure on the media. It is high time to act. We must establish clear principles: no journalist should be spied on because of their work, no public media should be turned into a channel of propaganda”said Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova in a statement.

This draft regulation provides guarantees for the editorial independence of editorial staff vis-à-vis political power or industrialists, and sets transparency requirements on media ownership. It proposes the establishment of a new European Media Council, made up of representatives of the national regulatory authorities, for a stricter supervision of concentrations in this sector.

Fight against interference

This draft legislation mustallow our media to operate without any interference, whether private or publiccommented the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton.

The text protects the secrecy of sources and prohibits the use of spyware against journalists and members of their families -- even if exceptions are possible in the name of "national security". A provision in response to the recent Pegasus and Predator scandals, which notably splashed the Polish, Hungarian and Greek authorities.

This " media freedom law still needs to be negotiated with EU Member States and the European Parliament. It will allow the Commission to initiate proceedings before the European courts in the event of non-compliance with its provisions.

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