RESOLUTION ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS - ENPA General Assembly in Budapest

In November 2010, ENPA organised its Autumn Board and General Assembly meeting in Budapest, along with the Hungarian publishers’ association, Magyar Lapkiadók Egyesülete. The Budapest Resolution was adopted on 12 November 2010. Freedom of the Press in Europe Europe has a well-established position as a world leader in respect of freedom of the press and fundamental rights. Newspapers all across Europe continue to fulfil their essential democratic role of questioning and holding to account those in positions of power. The importance of newspapers’ role in contributing to democratic debate and promoting engaged citizenship will only increase in future as the industry develops news and information services across all platforms. It is clear, however, that even within Europe, economic development and institutional reform do not inevitably coincide with increasing respect for fundamental rights. Recent new legislative proposals in several of the EU Member States, as well as the interpretation and enforcement of existing media laws, have raised serious concerns about possible encroachments on press freedom. Recognising European principles and commitments in the field of freedom of expression, free flow of information and freedom of the press, including Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Considering that there are challenges to press freedom in several Member States and the countries of Europe do not perform equally well when it comes to protecting fundamental rights. Considering that the 2010 World Press Freedom Index published by "Reporters without Borders" placed 13 of the EU Member States in the leading group when it comes to protecting press freedom, but placed the other 14 low in the ranking. Considering that newspaper publishers have to remain vigilant and quick to respond to any challenges to press freedom across Europe:

1) ENPA calls on policy makers to ensure that newspaper publishers have the right regulatory environment in which a free, independent and sustainable press can flourish and continue to develop new services, both offline and online.

2) Urges governments to consider whether any proposed initiative to further regulate the press is justified and necessary to the functioning of the media in the democratic system.

3) Declares that policy makers at EU and national level should avoid over-regulating or creating additional burdens on the industry, which could have repercussions on media freedom and independence, including by encouraging self-censorship.

4) Calls on national governments to reject or modify any legislative initiatives that threaten press freedom, restrict editorial independence or place obstacles in the way of newspapers as they investigate, gather information and report news and current affairs to their readers.

5) Cautions governments against implementing laws in a way that could undermine well established and cherished free speech or democratic principles in the media world.

6) Asks EU Member States to show leadership at a global level in regard to respect for news media and defence of media freedom.

7) Calls on the Hungarian Government to ensure that the current package of legislation aimed at modernising the Hungarian media law serves its proper function of enhancing Hungarian democracy.

8) Urges EU legislators to consider a change of the Brussels I legislation, which determines the competent court in case of cross-border litigation, to guard against "forum shopping". This practice, where publishers can be threatened by law suits in countries other than the place where their newspaper is located, might result in journalists self-censoring in order to avoid expensive litigation in a foreign country.

9) Declares that exequatur is an important legal instrument allowing publishers as defendants to challenge the enforcement of a judgement from another country, when it conflicts with public policy in their own country.

10) Urges policy makers to take into account that advertising revenues are essential to a free and independent press, so any moves to propose or extend mandatory information requirements on advertising could result in the press losing vital revenues and citizens losing quality editorial content.

For further information contact: Caroline Quintero P., ENPA Communications Officer Email: caroline.quintero@enpa.be Tel: +32 (0)2 551 01 90

EMMA

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. EMMA represents 15,000 publishing houses, publishing 50,000 magazine titles across Europe in print and digital.

www.magazinemedia.eu
ENPA

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