The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for the European Commission to take greater efforts to protect media freedom in its member states.
The resolution was adopted in the parliament with 488 votes, and seeks to protect media freedom in response to recent lapses in press freedom in a number of member states. This includes the recent murders of journalists in Malta and Slovakia, both of which are thought to be related to investigations of government corruption.
The murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta and Jan Kuciak in Slovakia were seen by many as demonstrations of increasingly limited press freedom in some member states, and during World Press Freedom Day, held yesterday (3 May), stakeholders from across Europe called for better regulations to uphold freedom for the media and protections for journalists.
What does the resolution involve?
In its resolution, the European Parliament emphasises the responsibility of a variety of actors to uphold media freedom, including:
- Internet intermediaries;
- Lawmakers; and
The responsibility of citizens in particular is highlighted as a growing element of protecting press freedom, the parliament added.
In a statement, it explained: ‘Besides its intrinsic status as human right, freedom of expression and pluralist and independent media perform also a fundamental social role, acting as public watchdog, sheltering citizens from states’ as well as private interests’ abuses and empowering them to actively participate in the democratic life.’
What do MEPs want the commission to do?
The parliament’s resolution calls for the European Commission to introduce human rights impact assessments for the evaluation of its legislative proposals and to present a proposal for the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.
This should be accompanied by independent monitoring mechanisms, which would assess the situation of media freedom and pluralism, and enable a prompt reaction to possible threats to and violations of them, the resolution insists.