Covid-19: MEPs call for emergency fund to support media

Written by on April 22, 2020 in Europe - Comments Off on Covid-19: MEPs call for emergency fund to support media

Additional European Union action is needed to make sure EU help reaches the ravaged media and culture sectors, members of the European Parliament’s committee on culture and education said in a letter to two European Commissioners.

The culture and creative sector in the EU – especially individual creators and SMEs – and the media sector are being decimated by the crisis, the MEPs said.

The letter was sent to Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, and Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

The EU must do more to help those struggling sectors to get back on their feet, the letter said.

The media and press sectors currently play a crucial role in providing accurate information and thorough reporting. They are a critical antidote to fake news and disinformation, the MEPs said.

Yet the media sector is currently being hit very hard, with a drop of as much as 80 per cent of advertising revenue in some member states and uncertainty being the only certainty for the future, they said.

The MEPs asked the European Commission to explore the potential for an emergency fund to support the media and press sector, drawing on funds that cannot be spent under other programmes because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They said that the cultural and creative sector is made up of many individual creators and SMEs, as well as charities. Their status often makes it harder for them to qualify for national or EU support schemes.

To make sure EU funds reach the sector, the MEPs asked the Commission to consider increasing the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility (Creative Europe programme) by topping it up from the 2021 budget, or transferring funds from the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

Creating an ad hoc financial instrument under the European Investment Fund to channel funds to the sector should also be considered, they said.

(Photo: Shamseer Sureash Kumar/freeimages.com)

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