European Media Freedom Act – big advance for right to information in Europe

(RSF) hails the European Parliament’s adoption of Europe’s first press freedom law, which has been influenced by many of the proposals submitted by RSF with the aim of effectively safeguarding the right to information and media independence within the European Union.

Known as the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA), the law was passed today by a big parliamentary majority (464 for, 92 against and 65 abstentions).

This unprecedented EU law enshrines the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) as a benchmark for identifying news media, which will be protected against arbitrary moderation and content deletion by leading online platforms.

The EMFA also includes safeguards for protecting editorial independence within news media, preventing political interference, limiting the dangers resulting from overly concentrated media ownership, and preventing intrusive surveillance of journalists. RSF called for these safeguards and now urges member states to implement them ambitiously.

“This law’s adoption marks a major step forward for the right to information within the European Union. From editorial independence to the regulation of media concentration, from state advertising to better protection for online content produced by news media, RSF’s proposals were heard and taken into account. They include recognition of JTI certification as a benchmark for identifying online news media. RSF welcomes this progress and calls on member states to implement these provisions ambitiously.

Julie Majerczak
Head of RSF’s Brussels office

Need for ambitious implementation

RSF will be paying close attention to EMFA enforcement, to ensure that it truly translates into a decisive step forward for the right to information in Europe. RSF is already calling on member states to implement this legislation ambitiously, comprehensively and effectively.

This law, which can no longer be modified, must now be formally approved by a vote in the Council of the European Union before being published in EU’s Official Journal.

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