On the occasion of the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) Autumn General Assembly meeting in Seville, Spain on 6 November 2009, hosted by ENPA’s Spanish member association "Asociación de Editores de Diario Españoles (AEDE)" – the Spanish Association of Daily Newspaper Publishers - the ENPA General Assembly adopts the following Resolution: Newspaper publishers in Europe call for better conditions for a free and independent press.
In light of the newly-elected European Parliament and in view of the appointment of the new European Commission, it is important to highlight that newspapers on all platforms of delivery – print and digital - across Europe provide reliable, comprehensive, easy accessible, quality information to citizens on political, economic and environmental developments and their impact on their daily lives. They provide the necessary content to inform citizens and foster democratic debate.
It must not be forgotten that in order to continue meeting this demand and furnishing citizens with accurate and constructive information, the newspaper industry itself must remain financially viable. The press sector today faces many challenges because of the existing difficult economic times and because of the current changes in the print and online media landscape. The future of the newspaper publishing industry needs to be taken into consideration by the EU Institutions when drafting new legislation.
With reference to the debate of the European Parliament on the Freedom of Information in Italy and the European Union, ENPA appreciates the importance that the European Union institutions place on the freedom of the press and share the views that to guarantee freedom of expression, no interference or pressure by public authorities is conceivable beyond constitutional obligation of ensuring these fundamental principles. However, ENPA believes that a Directive on media pluralism and concentration in Europe risks destroying the freedom of the press.
The media is called the fourth pillar of democracy. As central players in the media sector, the press offers a huge array of content, covering every sector and interest, thus playing a vital role in ensuring a diverse and plural information society.
Newspaper publishers across Europe are calling on the new European Parliament and Commission and the other European Union Institutions not to regulate their business but instead to ensure the necessary conditions for a free and independent press by:
- Preventing restrictions on freedom of expression in any legislation or initiative proposed by EU decision-makers.
- Preventing advertising bans or restrictions, as advertising revenues are an essential source of financing for independent newspapers in print and online and fund quality editorial content.
- Supporting a strong copyright regime that protects and promotes newspapers’ creativity and valuable investment in their content, and providing proper conditions for new business models in the digital environment.
- Supporting fair competition in the online environment between newspaper publishers and other players, in particular public service broadcasters.
- Supporting a zero-VAT rate applied to newspapers as newspapers should not be taxed in a democratic society.
- Preventing obstacles for the freedom of the press through rejecting calls for a directive on media pluralism and concentration in Europe, as it could easily equate to regulation and restriction of content and the freedom to publish.
- Supporting independence from governmental intervention in editorial, in particular in the reporting on the fight against terrorism and in protection of journalistic sources.
- Supporting the journalists’ access to information.
- Supporting efforts to improve media literacy to develop citizens’ awareness of the role of the press in a healthy democratic society.
Adopted on 6 November 2009 in Seville, Spain.
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
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