EU ministers adopt European Media Freedom Act

The Council of the European Union has adopted a new law that will safeguard media freedom, media pluralism and editorial independence in the EU, a statement by the Council of the EU on March 26 said.

The European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) will establish a common framework for media services in the EU’s internal market and introduce measures aimed at protecting journalists and media providers from political interference, while also making it easier for them to operate across the EU’s internal borders.

The EMFA was approved by the European Parliament on March 13.

The Council of the EU statement said that the new rules will guarantee the right of citizens to access free and plural information and define the responsibility of member states to provide the appropriate conditions and framework to protect it.

The regulation responds to rising concerns in the EU about the politicisation of the media and the lack of transparency of media ownership and of allocation of state advertising funds to media service providers, the statement said.

It seeks to put in place safeguards to combat political interference in editorial decisions for both private and public service media providers, protect journalists and their sources, and guarantee media freedom and pluralism.

The statement said that the EMFA builds on the provisions of the 2018 audiovisual media services directive (AVMSD).

In particular, it introduces an independent European board for media services to replace the regulators group (ERGA) established under the AVMSD.

The board will be composed of national media authorities and will advise and support the European Commission and promote the consistent application of key provisions of the new EMFA law and the AVMSD in all EU member states, including by providing opinions and helping the Commission to produce guidelines.

The regulation will now be signed, published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force 20 days later.

(Photo: Txo)

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