EBU POSITION ON THIS ISSUE

  • Democracies thrive when there is a diverse, pluralistic and rich media environment
  • A free and diverse media goes hand in hand with the right to freedom of expression
  • Journalists should be protected and media should be free from government interference
  • Public service media need to be shielded from political and commercial interference with strong governance rules

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What is at stake?

Media freedom and pluralism are at the heart of any democracy. They embrace editorial independence, the free flow of ideas, and public access to a wide range of information sources and views. We believe that our Members - public service media in and around Europe - play a leading role in ensuring a rich, diverse and transparent media landscape - one that promotes freedom of expression, leads to well-informed public opinion, and guarantees that journalists can feel free to carry out their work to the highest standards. 

“Free and independent media are key weapons in the fight against corruption. It is no coincidence that corruption is less widespread in countries which have high-quality independent journalism and vice versa. This shows the importance of fostering investigative journalism and a climate in which journalists can work without the threat of being imprisoned or worse.”

Ingrid Deltenre
Director-General of the European Broadcasting Union

 

Quality, accountability and diversity

Media freedom is a cornerstone of public service media (PSM). Sustainable and predictable and a sound governance framework should protect PSM from political and economic powers. In turn, PSM activities should be properly supervised by independent bodies. The presence of public services broadcasters on in the media landscape is vital to ensure a pluralistic and diverse environment and the availability of high-quality, impartial and independent news and information.

Challenges and opportunities in the digital world

Even in the digital era, PSM has maintained its traditional role as a point of reference for viewers and society at large. The digital revolution has led to accelerated media convergence, which has presented new challenges and opportunities to media freedom and pluralism. We believe that fundamental principles such as net neutrality and appropriate allocation of spectrum resources are crucial to ensuring citizens can continue to enjoy free access to a wide range of views and content.

Protecting media independence and transparency

Media independence and transparency are indispensable preconditions and essential safeguards of well-functioning democracy. Challenges and opportunities for the media sector differ from country to country in Europe. But all national and European lawmakers have a duty to protect and preserve media freedom and pluralism. The organization and definition of the PSM remit is a national competence. EU initiatives on monitoring media independence and ownership in Europe as well as checks to ensure that new EU legislation is consistent with the principles of media freedom and pluralism should continue to complement national rules aiming to preserve or strengthen these principles.

Independence, openness and sustainability: key governance principles

PSM’s independence from political and commercial interests hinges on predictable funding combined with an appropriate governance framework. Although there is no “one size fits all” approach to how PSM should be set up at national level, the governance framework should follow the principles of independence, accountability and sustainabilitiy, and enable PSM to fulfill their public service remit.

It must embrace the vision and overall purpose of the organization and foster a balanced and objective editorial approach. It should also ensure structured and autonomous relationships, based on openness and transparency, with key stakeholders - including national governments. Good governance principles must be actively embraced by the staff of PSM organizations and guide the priorities and decisions of senior management.

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Position paper
21 Nov 2016
EBU reply - 2016 Annual Colloquium on fundamental rights Public consultation on Media Pluralism and Democracy
Media freedom and pluralism are essential safeguards of well-functioning democracies. Freedom of expression and media freedom and pluralism are enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and they...
Speech
11 Sep 2015
PBI Conference Keynote Speech by Ingrid Deltenre - Munich, 10 September 2015
Dear Colleagues and PBI Delegates, I am very flattered to have this opportunity to give you some insight into the major developments currently shaping our industry. And if I may, I will also use this moment to share some ideas with you, the renowned media experts in this room, on how best to embrace the changes we all face.
Reference text
20 Nov 2014
Universal Declaration of Human Rights - United Nations
Extracts: Article 19 and Article 29(2)
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