Free and independent media are vital for democratic societies, MEPs say, calling on Commission and Council to defend them vigorously.
In the debate on Wednesday with Commissioner Jourová and Portuguese Secretary of State Zacarias, most MEPs highlighted the importance of free media for democracy and democratic societies and insisted that their independence from political interference must be guaranteed. They called on the Commission to do more to protect journalists in Europe and stop governments acting with impunity, and on the Council to conclude the Article 7 procedures in relation to Hungary and Poland. Some also affirmed that the rule of law conditionality mechanism should be activated. Several MEPs dismissed the debate as politically biased and lacking in information regarding the situation in the member states concerned, arguing that some were showing intolerance towards views different to their own.
The debate was organised in the wake of concerns raised after Klubradio in Hungary was taken off the air, the proposed new levy on media advertising revenue in Poland, and emerging reports of political interference in Slovenian media. In November 2020, Parliament adopted the Resolution on Strengthening Media Freedom: the Protection of Journalists in Europe, Hate Speech, Disinformation and the Role of Platforms.