Freedom of expression is one of the essential foundations of the European Union. But freedom of expression can only be exercised in a free and pluralistic media environment, including through independent media governance.
The European Union's commitment to respect freedom and pluralism of the media, as well as the right to information and freedom of expression is enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, similar to the provision of Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Defending Media Freedom and Pluralism
- Addressing violations of media freedom and pluralism: "European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. The Commission selected four projects in early 2014, run by NGOs and academic institutions, with the object to address violations of media freedom and pluralism in the EU and Candidate Countries. Two projects were selected in 2015 following a second call. Three new projects selected further to a third call started in 2016.
- Independent monitoring of media pluralism: Pilot implementation of the Media pluralism Monitor (MFM). The European Commission awarded grants for the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) to further develop the MPM and to conduct Pilot implementations of the “Media pluralism Monitor” (MPM). Nine countries were selected in 2014, the nineteen others were covered in 2015.
The results are available on the Media Pluralism Monitor page.
The 2016 exercise covers all 28 Member States, as well as two candidate countries.
Council Conclusions on Media Freedom and Pluralism
On 26 November 2013, the Council of the European Union and the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, adopted conclusions on media freedom and pluralism in the digital environment.
In those conclusions, the Council invites the Commission to:
- continue to support projects that aim at enhancing the protection of journalists and media practitioners
- continue to support the independent monitoring tool for assessing risks to media pluralism in the EU (MPM)
- strengthen cooperation between Member States' audiovisual regulatory authorities and promote best practice as regards the transparency of media ownership
- assess the effectiveness of these measures in order to consider any further steps.
Colloquium on Fundamental Rights will focus on Media Pluralism and Democracy
In November 2016, the European Commission organised a Colloquium on Fundamental Rights focusing on Media Pluralism and Democracy. The debate was informed by discussion notes, a special Eurobarometer, as well as the results of a public consultation in which a number of colloquium participants had taken part. The outcomes of the Colloquium were published in December 2016.
Documents and Studies
- Two public consultations on the independence of the audiovisual regulatory bodies (report) and on the Independent Report from the High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism (report) were conducted in 2013.
- An independent study on indicators for media pluralism in the EU Member States was commissioned to define and test concrete and objective indicators for assessing media pluralism in the EU Member States. The results, including the Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM), were published in 2009.
- The Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, initiated within the European University Institute of Florence, published a policy report on "European Union competencies in respect of media pluralism and media freedom" in February 2013.
- The European Commission services published a working paper outlining efforts to promote pluralism by third parties and organisations, notably the essential work undertaken by the Council of Europe. This contains a concise first survey of Member States' audiovisual and print media markets - Staff Working Paper on Media Pluralism.
- European Commission Guidelines for EU support to media freedom and media integrity in enlargement countries, 2014-2020
- EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline, adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council meeting of 12 May 2014.