Where Is Media Freedom?

Culture - February 17, 2024

The European Conservatives and Reformists stand for the defense of pluralism and Media Freedom.

The Party of European Conservatives and Reformists has promoted in-depth and independent research regarding media freedom and pluralism within the European Union, a recently widespread development that poses a whole series of questions proposing solutions to the main critical issues highlighted.

The research revealed how we now live in an era where freedom of the press and diversity of opinion are under threat on a daily basis. Access to impartial and independent information is essential for the functioning of a healthy democracy, but unfortunately, increasingly, we are faced with attempts to limit this opportunity.

According to carefully collected data, a situation of extreme relevance and concern emerges regarding media concentration in Europe. In fact, the research highlights how the majority of member countries have a media concentration classified as medium-high, with the main players in the sector holding significant market shares. This circumstance, without a doubt, negatively affects the diversity of opinions and access to information, calling into question the fundamental principle of media pluralism.

The analyses carried out indicate that over 70% of European countries have a media concentration that exceeds the risk level, highlighting a situation that requires immediate and thoughtful action. The trend towards greater media concentration has the potential to seriously undermine the information landscape, reducing the variety of opinions and viewpoints accessible to the public and thus undermining the very basis of democracy.

The effect of this concentration is most evident in publishing, with media increasingly inclined to favor a single political narrative or to censor opinions critical of the government. This phenomenon appears to undermine public trust in journalistic information, with the risk of inevitably compromising the role of the category itself.

Another critical aspect revealed by the research concerns the growing political control over public media. Indeed, research has found a significant increase in political control over public media, with a growing number of countries where public media content is influenced by government authorities. Statistical data has shown that, since 2016, the number of countries where public media have been characterized by a pro-government orientation has increased significantly, despite the existence of regulations mandating pluralism.

However, despite these challenges, the analysis promoted by the ECR also identifies positive signals. A growing number of independent media outlets are turning to crowdfunding as a way to finance their businesses. This approach offers journalists a way to remain independent from political and economic influences, allowing them to focus on producing high-quality content of real public interest.

But the fight for media freedom cannot and must not be left to journalists alone. It is the duty of each of us to defend and promote freedom of the press as a fundamental pillar of European democracy.

Faced with this complex reality, the survey carried out and sponsored by the ECR also highlighted positive directions, through a series of observations in the different fields of action aimed at strengthening media freedom in Europe. Among these, positive feedback stands out on the proposed European law on media freedom, which as we have seen promotes media pluralism and tends to guarantee journalistic independence through targeted regulations and more effective control mechanisms.

The act makes it clear that it is not only important to protect journalists and protect those who provide information from attempts at political influence, but also to ensure a functioning media market through coherent regulatory convergence of Nations, guarantee transparency in management and resources aimed at the sector, as well as promoting education on media freedom and pluralism.

A complex topic with multiple implications that deserves the right attention. This is why in recent weeks the European Conservative and Reformist Party, led by Giorgia Meloni (FdI), has promoted a conference in Brussels that could delve deeper into such a crucial issue.