European Parliament strengthens protection of the press

In one of the last sessions of the European Parliament before the European elections, we presented the "European law on media freedom" (European Media Freedom Act, EMFA). We Greens have long campaigned for a robust European law that guarantees the independence of public media and national regulatory authorities and ensures a fair distribution of state resources. The law should make it more difficult to exert political pressure on journalists. Source protection will be strengthened. The allocation of advertisements by state actors should be transparent and fair. This is a clear success for democracy and against autocrats like Orbán.

For the first time, EU law stipulates that governments or private interests may not interfere in the processes and editorial decisions of the media. The allocation of state advertising, which is sometimes used as a means of drying up certain media and favoring others, must now be transparent and fair. State shares in media companies and possible influence must also be disclosed.

The EMFA demands transparency of media ownership, independence of editorial decisions

One important success is the exclusion of the possibility of spying on journalists to protect „national security“. This possibility has been abused several times, especially in Greece. This is a victory for press freedom and democracy. The regulation will be applied 15 months after its adoption, with certain articles coming into force at different times.

The Greens' negotiating successes include the expanded definitions of media providers, greater independence of public media and transparency rules for media ownership. Some difficult points remain, in particular Article 17, which provides for preferential treatment of certain media. Overall, however, we can be satisfied with the regulation. Hopefully it will help to ensure that attacks on press freedom such as those in Hungary or Greece are no longer so easily possible in the future.