Freedom of Press: Importance of Fair Information for European Conservatives

Politics - March 28, 2024

On January 9th was presented at the Chamber of Deputies an event promoted by ECR regarding press freedom, event that took place on January 10th and 11th in Brussels. Reporting on the aims and objectives of the meeting, were Tommaso Foti, Head of the Fratelli d’Italia group in the Chamber, Antonio Giordano, Secretary General of the ECR, and Fratelli d’Italia MEP Grazia Di Maggio.

The main purpose of the initiative was to focus the debate on the importance of information quality and on the protection of both individuals and journalists. Numerous topics were first illustrated in the Chamber of Deputies and then concretely addressed in the European Parliament in the presence of Nicola Procaccini, ECR co-president.


The presentation at the Chamber, Antonio Giordano: “This is the restart of the European Conservative Party for 2024, the year that will see us facing elections

The press conference on January 9th intended to illustrate the critical issues affecting the world of information, but also the good practices to be adopted. Antonio Giordano, who was entrusted with the opening of the conference, shared: “This is the European Conservative Party’s restart for 2024, the year we will face elections. The first meeting will be in Brussels, discussing a topic very dear to us in politics and to you in journalism: freedom of press. Something that sees the European Parliament still engaged in the definition of the Freedom of Press Act, and that sees all of us attentive to what is happening around the world”.

He then went on to lead those present through an analysis of the pivotal points that have animated the debate in the European Parliament: “Three points are on the table, with a respectable parterre. First, we will bring our friends who come from different parts of Europe – Italy, France, Romania, Spain and Poland – to the European Parliament for an update on the initiatives with the ECR group on the topic. And then two panels: the first one about the latest trends on press freedom at European and international level, and the other one about the influence of foreign actors on press freedom and on the upcoming European elections”.

The discussions, Giordano added, aim to investigate what “clouds the quality and linearity of the information process”.

I therefore want to highlight the issue of disintermediation”, he went on to elaborate, “which in my opinion is one of the biggest problems we have today. Today information comes from an infinite number of uncontrolled channels”.

A related issue is that of “fake news, that involves all of us; it becomes complex, especially with AI systems, to manage all the material”.

And then again: “The click issue: newspapers live by clicks, a fact that generates sensationalism and has become rampant. Furthermore: the information system being used for war or pre-war purposes; we are observing what is happening in the European countries closest to Russia. Another topic concerns attacks on journalists”. This was the premise that introduced the conference participants to the ECR initiative.


The speeches by Grazia Di Maggio, Fratelli d’Italia deputy, Antonio Rapisarda, Libero journalist, and Tommaso Foti, Fratelli d’Italia group leader in the Chamber

We are going to hold an event that focuses on a current, often instrumentalised issue: freedom of the press,” began the FdI deputy. “I’m speaking as an MP and as a journalist: a distinction must be made between the right to inform and the right to protect the person, to protect citizens. Institutions and journalists must share and carry out information that is both professional and of quality.

Then a thought about the younger audience: “Nowadays, we must also protect the younger generations, more vulnerable compared to others. Often the news comes from social media and is not always absorbed by those who have critical thinking”.

Finally, a clarification: “There are no gags on information, Fratelli d’Italia has always put the search for truth first. Freedom of the press is sacred, but we must decide what is freedom of the press and what is not”.

Then took the floor Antonio Rapisarda, a journalist from the newspaper Libero and an invited personality at the Freedom Press event. “The debate about the defence of equal press campaigns is a topic that as a journalist I find interesting. I insist on the concept of equality because it has not always been so obvious. Differing opinions are not always accepted by the mainstream. Ensuring freedom of the press and pluralism from a structural point of view is a necessity both in Italy and internationally”. Rapisarda then thanked the European Conservatives Party and said he was pleased to be able to share his experiences with such a respectable audience, also considering the event an important opportunity for discussion.

The initiative was also praised by Tommaso Foti, head of the Fratelli d’Italia group in the Chamber: “I think the initiative of the ECR group is entirely positive and should be greeted with enthusiasm and responsibility. The ECR group is trying to delineate this pre-campaign phase with initiatives of substance and not playfulness”. A clear thought that sanctions the will of the first Italian party to face the political challenges scheduled for the near future.


The co-chair of the European Conservative Party, Nicola Procaccini, also attended the event at the European Parliament

The topic was then explored during the event in Brussels. Journalists, writers, politicians and opinion makers took part, sharing ideas and charting paths for the world of information. In the presentation proposed by the Conservative Party, it is stated: “ECR Party’s mission is to support freedom of the press at a time when rampant dissemination of false information, propaganda and censorship hampers the ability of EU citizens and policy makers to take appropriate action.”

Therefore, in order to create a proper and constructive debate, the delegations from different European countries, as Giordano had announced during the press conference, met with MEPs from the ECR group, among them co-president Nicola Procaccini and FdI delegation leader in Brussels Carlo Fidanza. The two took part in the meetings planned for the day which, as announced in the Chamber, covered the latest trends on press freedom at European and international level and the influence of foreign actors on press freedom as well as the upcoming European elections.


Fake news: an important topic

The topic regarding fake news is a highly relevant one, which is why it found an important place in the Freedom of Press event. In fact, the critical issues related not only to the spread of fake news, but also to its absorption, were widely discussed.

In general, as also clarified by Grazia Di Maggio, the focus was on the protection of the individual and the quality of information. The debate, therefore, not only examined possible mistakes, but also tried to open up appropriate solutions to curb the problem.

Linked to this subject is that of clicks, an ever-growing source of confusion for the press. In fact, according to the speakers and insiders who attended, it is necessary to work on the ability not to lead to sensationalism at all costs.

In short, a complex and rich event to internationally address an essential hot topic; an event that offered important food for thought and created synergies for the future of information.