Donnerstag, 21.03.2019 10:36 Uhr

Freedom of Press is a vital element of democracy

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome, 03.04.2018, 14:41 Uhr
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Rome [ENA] Freedom of Press is considered to be a vital element of democracy by the European Parliament, which strongly supports it within the EU and beyond. Article 11 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights clearly affirms that “freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected”. Members of the European Parliament called for action to safeguard media freedom, pluralism and independence on Tuesday, following the rise of

fake news and the recent murders of two investigative journalists in the EU. On 27 March, the Civil liberties committee voted in favour of a non-legislative resolution drafted by Italian GUE/NGL member Barbara Spinelli on media pluralism and media freedom in the European Union. Because of the violence against journalists, EU must help safeguard media independence and give more support for public service providers and investigative journalism. EU member states should create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and secure environment for journalists and above all a safe environment against hate speech. Although the expression has become very common, there is no set definition of hate speech.

In fact, the search for a shared definition clashes with juridical, political-philosophical, and cultural debates over the boundaries of freedom of expression. Hate speech includes “all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility towards minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin”. The non-legislative resolution drafted by Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL, IT) was approved by 44 votes to 3, with 4 abstentions. EU member states have to ensure adequate public funding to safeguard and promote pluralist, independent and free media.

They also ought to strengthen financial support to public service providers and investigative journalism, while refraining from involvement in editorial decisions. In October, Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese investigative journalist who rose to notoriety with the Panama Papers, was murdered in a car bomb in Malta. One month ago, Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak, who was investigating the Calabrian mafia “’ndrangheta”, and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová were also slaughtered.

In the resolution adopted by the Civil liberties committee, MEPs stated deep concern about the abuse and violence being committed against journalists in the EU and called for an independent regulatory body to be established in cooperation with journalist organizations to watch and report violence and threats. All MEPs will also be asked to vote on the resolution during an upcoming plenary session. The committee also emphasized the key role played by the media in a democratic society, observing that media freedom, pluralism and independence are crucial components of the right to freedom of expression.

In order to promote and safeguard a pluralist, independent and free media, MEPs called in the resolution on EU countries to ensure adequate public funding. In addition the resolution stressed the importance of ensuring adequate working conditions for journalists.The threat of fake news has been stressed and the importance of offering the public high-quality information has been pointed out. In order to prevent the propagation of misinformation, social media companies and online platforms have to develop tools to enable users to mark or to report potential fake news. Impartial certified third party checking organizations should take care of the rectification.

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