Guaranteeing prominent display of and easy access to general interest content, including public service media content, improving the promotion of media literacy initiatives, strengthening safety of journalists and other media professionals, and media freedom are amongst the main points submitted today by the EBU in our response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the European Democracy Action Plan (EDAP).
The EDAP is part of the European Commission’s push to help improve the resilience of Europe’s democracies. The aim of the Plan is to empower citizens to participate in the democratic system through informed decision-making free from the interference and manipulation that can affect elections and the democratic debate.
“As Public Service Media we have a crucial role to play in democratic societies” says Wouter Gekiere, head of EBU’s Brussels office. “Public service media organisations are accessible for everyone, a trusted source of objective and impartial information, a guardian of pluralistic and minority views and are easily identified by their brands. As statistics demonstrate, PSM is a reference point in times of national and global crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
Our recommendations for the EDAP reiterate the need for adopting meaningful EU rules for global online platforms as stated in our recent submission to the European Commission’s consultation on the Digital Services Act. Prominence of general interest content is vital to ensure that citizens have online access to trustworthy journalism and the plurality of views that public service media offers. Combined with correct attribution of media brand and content, prominence of independent and high quality media can help mitigate the effects of online disinformation.
Our submission to the consultation calls for binding minimum standards for political advertising such as a clear separation of editorial content from commercial content. We make the case for improved algorithmic transparency and accountability of online platforms. Following the European Commission’s recent assessment of the Code of Practice on Disinformation, we recommend a robust framework to address the shortcomings of platforms’ voluntary action under the Code.
We also raise important concerns about developments regarding the safety of journalists and how freedom of expression and the right to information are being threatened, both online and offline.
The European Commission is expected to propose the European Democracy Action Plan by the end of 2020.
The full text of the submission is available for download.