The European Magazine Media Association (EMMA) and the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) have released a joint statement calling upon the European Commission (EC) not to adopt its proposed European Media Freedom Act (EMFA).
The act itself is well intentioned, and described by POLITICO Europe Tech Reporter Clothilde Goujard as ‘the European Commission’s response to growing threats to media freedom across Europe’. Within the legislation are rules to prevent national governments from hacking the phones of journalists, and wider limitations on state interference in public service media.
However, the plans have met with growing criticism from those working within the industry, who believe that the EC has got its approach to protecting press freedom wrong.
In a strongly worded joint statement on the Act, EMMA and ENPA said:
‘With the publication of an undated draft proposal of the European Media Freedom Act, EMMA and ENPA find themselves in the surprising and worrisome position to see that the European Commission plans to undermine the core of press freedom. We deeply regret this threat for press and media freedom and call on the Commission not to adopt the proposal in its upcoming meeting, as in its current version the draft is a “Media Unfreedom Act”, an affront to the core values of the European Union and democracy…’
‘…It is not acceptable and highly problematic that in a proposal intended to protect media freedom the European Commission reveals plans to de facto override the principle of publishers’ editorial freedom, an essential element of press freedom anchored in Europe for centuries, as well as the freedom to invest and conduct a business. This is hardly comprehensible, not least because of questions of liability of the publisher, who bears the ultimate responsibility for the content.’
You can read the statement in full here.
At the time of writing, no further updates have been issued, but the presentation of the bill is believed to be imminent, and you can keep an eye on the latest European Commission announcements here.
[Main image: Shutterstock.com/Alexandros Michailidis]