EU member states should “create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and secure environment for journalists,” a resolution adopted by members of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee said.
The non-legislative resolution was approved by 44 votes to three, with four abstentions.
MEPs called on EU countries to ensure adequate public funding to safeguard and promote pluralist, independent and free media.
They also called on them to strengthen financial support to public service providers and investigative journalism, while refraining from involvement in editorial decisions.
To protect journalists from violence and threats, an independent and impartial regulatory body should be set up, in co-operation with journalists’ organisations, to monitor and report on violence.
Journalists whose freedom to work has been threatened need effective legal procedures to be able to avoid self-censorship, the text said.
MEPs are concerned about the growth of cyberbullying, revenge porn and child sexual abuse and reiterate that mass media must fully respect the interests and rights of minors. They called for legislation, including provisions for detection, flagging and removal from social media of content which is harmful to human dignity.
The MEPs emphasised that restrictions on encryption and anonymity must be legal, necessary and proportionate.
The text noted that the use of the term “fake news” should “never be aimed at undermining public trust in the media and at discrediting and criminalising critical voices”.
To foster objective information and protect it, the civil liberties committee members encouraged social media companies and online platforms to develop tools for users to report and flag potential fake news, facilitate rectification and allow for reviews by independent and impartial certified third party fact-checking organisations.
The MEPs called on member states to integrate media and information literacy into national education systems.