Brussels, 16 January 2007
Media pluralism: Commission stresses need for transparency, freedom and diversity in Europe's media landscape
Responding to continuing concerns from the European Parliament and non-governmental organisations about media concentration, and its possible effects on pluralism and freedom of expression, Commissioner Viviane Reding and Vice-President Margot Wallström – presented today to fellow Commissioners three-steps on media pluralism in the European Union.
"While the media face radical changes and restructuring due to new
technology and global competition, maintaining media pluralism is crucial for
the democratic process in the Member States and in the European Union as a
whole," said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.
"This requires a sound understanding of the economic and legal reality of
today's European media landscape, which our three-step approach seeks to
The three steps set out by Commissioner Reding and Vice-President Wallström, responsible for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy, follows suggestions made at the Liverpool Audiovisual Conference in 2005, and indicates how this politically-sensitive issue should proceed.
In the 'Reding-Wallström' approach, the notion of media pluralism is much broader than media ownership; it covers access to varied information so citizens can form opinions without being influenced by one dominant source. Citizens also need transparent mechanisms that guarantee that the media are seen as genuinely independent.
Already the new Directive "Audiovisual Media Services Without Frontiers", as proposed by the Commission in December 2005 contributes to media pluralism in this respect. In particular, it would oblige Member States to guarantee that their national regulatory authorities are independent from their national governments and audiovisual media service providers. The Commission proposal on this will be debated again during the Directive's second reading in the first semester of 2007.
The 'Reding-Wallström' approach, as presented today to the Commission, has three steps:
Throughout the whole process, the Commissioners’ Group on Fundamental Rights, as well as the European Parliament and Council will be kept informed about the progress made.
For more on the 'Reding-Wallström' approach and the ongoing Commission work on media pluralism, see: