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. 

"Defending press freedom and freedom of expression is not a lost cause. If you don’t believe that and don’t act on it then you play completely into the hands of those that want them to be. That would be the ultimate disservice to those that have already lost their lives on the front lines in too many places around the world."

Noel Curran
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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