ENPA, the association representing publishers of newspapers and news media in Europe, expressed serious concerns about the recommendations of an independent group of experts appointed by European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes.
ENPA, the association representing publishers of newspapers and news media in Europe, expressed serious concerns about the recommendations of an independent group of experts appointed by European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, which presented its final report earlier this week. The High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism, chaired by the former President of Latvia, Professor Vaira Vike-Freiberga, called for Brussels to have greater powers to oversee national press councils to ensure they “comply with European values”. ENPA President, Ivar Rusdal, said: “It is regrettable that the High Level Group, after extensive work, misses its target completely. The report opens with a good outline of the basic principles of press freedom and the role of free media in modern democracies. But after that, the report demonstrates that this expert group really has too little confidence in these principles, particularly when it comes to their ability to overcome the forces acting against these freedoms.
“The High Level Group proposes a Europe-wide system of political control of the media, reminding me of political systems that we have fought hard and paid a high price to abolish. Independent newspaper publishers will never accept such EU control over the media.” ENPA had met with the High Level Group and provided background information as part of independent group’s consultation with key stakeholders. While the final report includes some positive recommendations, such as the need for media literacy education in schools, it fails to recognise the true value of media self-regulation. Mr Rusdal commented: “It is also strange that the High Level Group discusses media and journalism without not so much as a word on the role, rights and duties of the responsible editor, who is the personification of the independence that media need to fulfil it democratic mission.” ENPA expressed hope that a strong and unequivocal response coming from the press sector will make the European Commission and European Parliament look critically at the group’s proposals, which if enacted would amount to a serious backward step for press freedom in Europe. In the discussion that ensues, ENPA is ready to take an active role in explaining to EU decision-makers the needs and realities of today’s fast-moving independent press sector.
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The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats.www.magazinemedia.eu
The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 16 national associations across 13 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.www.enpa.eu