EMMA and ENPA statement on the inauguration speech of the President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman on March 8, 2018
Brussels, 23 March 2018
The European press publishers associations EMMA (European Magazine Media Association) and ENPA (European Newspaper Publishers Association), as part of their activities focused on the support of the publishing sector, are also monitoring the situation in the field of press freedom and the media in the European Union’s Member States.
Recently, we have witnessed an increasing number of public statements made by some politicians in various EU Member States that denigrate the critical social role of the press and other media. We are concerned that, in his inaugural speech on March 8, 2018, the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, called upon citizens to neither respect nor take particular media outlets seriously.
ENPA and EMMA, representing thousands of media outlets across the EU, would like to reiterate the importance of free and independent journalism for healthy democratic societies, which is based on providing objective and critical information on political events and political developments to a wider public. This includes expressing critical opinions concerning activities of policy makers and heads of states.
We consider any attempt by governments or policy makers to undermine the role of the press and other media as the watchdog of democracy as a serious threat to the freedom of press.
For this reason, we urge President Zeman, in the spirit of his mission, to take into account the importance of a free, independent and critical press as one of the main preconditions for the preservation and development of a democratic society, when approaching any future criticism of the media and to avoid disrespecting the media or denigrating journalists.