by Roxana Lazarescu
The media landscape in Europe has been devastated by the COVID-19 outbreak. Chronic issues, like lack of transparency in financing, editorial independence and pluralism, especially in smaller markets and countries, have been made worse.
For us, the Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament, media freedom is at the forefront of our concerns. We welcome the report adopted today by the European Parliament regarding media in the digital age. As we acknowledge the importance of high-quality journalism, our group calls for a holistic approach. Member States need to combine legislative and policy measures with strong financial support mechanisms. The EU must also increase the funding available through the ongoing programmes.
Renew Europe also urges the Commission to elaborate strategies for both the news media sector and the audio-visual sector.
The last decade saw people turning to digital platforms. Our group believes that we must take into account the effect of global platforms on the media and audio-visual sectors, in particular on advertising. We call for a better balanced digital environment where all players can thrive through clear legislation on data access, transparency of algorithms, accountability of platforms, and on advertising rules, that must be included in the upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA).
MEP Laurence FARRENG (Mouvement Democrate, France) coordinator and member of the Culture and Education Committee, says
“The audio-visual and media sectors have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, which amplified the challenges they normally face, such as unstable funding, and a competitive-dependent relationship with the big platforms. At the same time, we have seen how necessary they are, both in terms of information and entertainment, for the proper functioning of our societies”.
Pluralistic, independent and well-funded news media sector is critical to the smooth functioning of our democracies and societies, while a competitive and resilient European audio-visual sector helps promote European cultural and linguistic diversity.
“This report is an excellent way of highlighting the future prospects of these sectors, which must be able to take the digital transition smoothly, but also to strengthen their place in our economy, through clearer and more accessible funding” concludes Mrs Farreng.