Members' Research Service By / November 22, 2022

European media freedom act [EU Legislation in Progress][Policy podcast]

According to the European Commission’s call for evidence, recent developments in EU countries affecting the ownership, management or operation of certain media outlets point to increasing interference in the media sector.

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Written by Tarja Laaninen (1st edition).

An independent media is a pillar of democracy and an important part of the economy, helping to shape public opinion and hold those in power to account. In recent years, however, there have been increasingly worrying trends across the European Union (EU), as documented in the annual rule of law reports by the European Commission and other tools such as the Media Pluralism Monitor.

Published on 16 September 2022, the European media freedom act (EMFA) proposes a new set of rules and mechanisms to promote media pluralism and independence across the EU, and amends the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD, Directive 2010/13/EU). The aim is to prevent political interference in editorial decisions and ensure transparency of media ownership. Member States will be required to assess the impact of media concentrations. The proposed act stresses the importance of an independent and adequately funded public service media, and seeks to protect journalists from having to disclose their sources and from the use of spyware against them. It also sets requirements for fair audience measurement systems and transparent allocation of state advertising. Media content would be better protected against unjustified online content removal, and a new European board for media services would be established to assist in the implementation of the EU media law framework.

In the European Parliament, the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) has been designated the committee responsible, with the Committees on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) asked to give opinions. The procedure is in its initial stages and in the preparatory phase in Parliament.


Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common framework for media services in the internal market (European Media Freedom Act) and amending Directive 2010/13/EU
Committee responsible:Culture and Education (CULT)COM(2022)457
Rapporteur:To be appointed2022/0277(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Initial discussions in committee
EU legislation in progress

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