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25.05.2018

Freedom of expression in the Multiannual Financial Framework

The ECPMF and other media freedom organisations sent this letter on 24 May 2018 to the EC Commissioners Gabriel, Navracsics, Oettinger and First Vice-President Timmermanns to express our concern that freedom of expression will not be reflected in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). We believe that it is important for media freedom and media pluralism to be given a clear priority in the EU budget for the future (2021-2027).


Dear Commissioner,

You show great commitment to press and media freedom in Europe and we would like to thank you for that.

We hereby want to express our concern that the EU proposal on funding (Multiannual Financial Framework, MFF) will not include a stable budget line allocated to the protection of freedom of expression in Europe. We have noticed that media freedom and media pluralism are not mentioned specifically in the document. We believe that it should be given a clear priority.

The letter

download the letter here

 

An independent press is far more than an “added value” to the European Union. It is a fundamental right and duty. The European Charter on Fundamental Rights underlines freedom of expression. Recent events across the EU show that press and media freedom need to be strongly defended to protect democracy, public discourse and even the lives of investigative journalists: Unfortunately, the situation of press and media freedom is deteriorating in Europe. Many EU member states fail to guarantee an enabling environment for journalists. We notice worrying developments, e.g. in Poland, Hungary, France and Bulgaria, to name but a few. The assassinations of Ján Kuciak in Slovakia and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta are sad examples and the tip of the iceberg.

The recently adopted resolution on media pluralism and media freedom in the European Union (2017/2209 (INI)) underlines the importance of ensuring adequate working conditions for journalists and media workers, in full compliance with the requirements of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Charter on Freedom of the Press and the European Social Charter.

According to the European Parliament resolution of 21 May 2013 on the ‘EU Charter: standard settings for media freedom across the EU’, member states of the EU need to respect, guarantee, protect and promote the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, as well as media freedom and pluralism. Hence, they need to refrain from exerting, and to develop or support mechanisms to impede, threats to media freedom.

We are certain the European Commission is aware of this. In order to support a free press, civil society organisations need financial support to fulfil their duty. We need to strengthen media literacy, monitor the situation, offer legal support, raise awareness, and undertake diplomatic efforts and advocacy.

We hope that such measures to ensure free media are envisaged and will be included in the MFF. We would like to ask you for your personal endorsement on this.

 

Thank you very much.





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