Free and independent media are vital for democratic societies, MEPs say, calling on Commission and Council to defend them vigorously.
In the debate on Wednesday with Commissioner Jourová and Portuguese Secretary of State Zacarias, most MEPs highlighted the importance of free media for democracy and democratic societies and insisted that their independence from political interference must be guaranteed. They called on the Commission to do more to protect journalists in Europe and stop governments acting with impunity, and on the Council to conclude the Article 7 procedures in relation to Hungary and Poland. Some also affirmed that the rule of law conditionality mechanism should be activated.
As for the rule of law conditionality mechanism, this is a procedure that links the payment of European funds to compliance with the principles of the rule of law. Therefore, non-compliance would entail the suspension or freezing of payments from EU coffers. This mechanism has raised suspicions in some Member States, such as Hungary and Poland.
The debate was organised in the wake of concerns raised after Klubradio in Hungary was taken off the air, the proposed new levy on media advertising revenue in Poland, and emerging reports of political interference in Slovenian media.