I have for some time been very concerned with the issues of media freedom and pluralism. In any democracy, a free media sector is an important safeguard.
In each EU country, audiovisual services like TV benefit from oversight by independent regulators. And yesterday we convened the first ever meeting of all those regulators, from across the EU.
This group is a great step forward. Their job will be to cooperate with each other and exchange good ideas, to share their advice and expertise, and to ensure their independence is safeguarded. And there's much going on in this sector at the moment: with media freedom (and challenges to it) in the news across Europe, and with many of those services going online, or "converging" with their online equivalents.
The group's work will be a very useful input to us as we plan a review of relevant legislation. That will review will take into account the importance of independent regulators for media freedom, but also crucial single market issues that today make it easier to enjoy content from across Europe, wherever you are in Europe.
Setting up this group was just one part of our response to the independent recommendations of Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga's Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism. And it answers the call from EU countries to strengthen cooperation among audiovisual regulators. It also fits in well to our ongoing work and consultations on how TV and other audiovisual content are "converging" with the online world.
Their first meeting was very productive. There are clearly many common challenges and I am happy that we now have a forum to discuss them. In procedural terms, they've appointed Olivier Schramek from France as chair; and Madeline de Cock Buning (from the Netherlands) and Jan Dworak (from Poland) as vice-chairs. Congratulations to all of you - I look forward to working very closely — and with the whole group!