Proposal for a European Media Freedom Act
14 October 2022
Pingen_Anna_sw Dr. Anna Pingen

On 16 September 2022, the Commission adopted a proposal for a European Media Freedom Act. Through the Media Pluralism Monitor and previous Rule of Law reports, the Commission has been closely monitoring challenges regarding media pluralism and independence in the EU. It has identified increasingly worrying trends across the EU, especially regarding the safety of journalists and abusive lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs). With the European Media Freedom Act, the Commission aims at strengthening the integrity of the internal media market.

The European Media Freedom Act builds on the Commission's rule-of-law reports (Commission's 2021 Rule of Law Report → eucrim 3/2021, 134–135), the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the Digital Services Act (DSA), and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) as well as on the new Code of Practice on Disinformation (→ eucrim News).

In order to achieve this goal, the Commission has set out four major objectives:

  • Fostering cross-border activity and investment in the internal media market in order to make it easier for media market players to expand their operations across the internal market;
  • Increasing regulatory cooperation and convergence in the internal media market through EU-level opinions and guidance. Tools for collective - EU-wide - action should therefore be provided by independent regulators to protect the EU internal market from service providers (including those from third countries) not following EU media standards;
  • Facilitating the free provision of quality media services in the internal market by enhancing media-specific ownership transparency and promoting self-regulation for the independent functioning of media companies;
  • Securing transparent and fair allocation of economic resources in the internal media market in order to ensure a level playing field for media market players.

The Commission also proposed establishing a European Board for Media Services, a collective body of independent media regulators, to replace and succeed the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA). The Board is designed to promote the effective and consistent application of the EU media law framework.

The European Parliament and the Council will now have to discuss the Commission's proposal for a Regulation according to the ordinary legislative procedure.