Reclaim the media – an urgent European petition

Jenny Nelson

Thursday, 07 August 2014

Please sign the European Citizen’s Initiative for media pluralism

This is a rare chance to have a big impact on the media. It’s about creating the conditions for quality journalism to thrive. We need 1 million signatures by 17 Aug and we need your help! Please share the link above with your contacts and ask them to click ‘support’.

Without free, independent, and pluralistic media citizens are deprived of the possibility to keep power accountable. Corruption and maladministration prosper, personal business and political interest replace the common good of all, minorities face increasing marginalisation. The deterioration of media pluralism and media freedom in Europe is above all a threat to democracy. 

The situation of media freedom and pluralism in the European Union is worsening. Some countries, notably Hungary, suffer significant interference of political power aiming to control and direct the media. Some, notably the UK, suffer from problems of excessive concentration leading to undue influence of certain economic groups, notably Murdoch’s media empire, over political processes. Others, as the case particularly in Italy, Bulgaria, and Romania, experience a dangerous overlap of economic, media, and political interests in the hands of the same persons.

European institutions have, so far, refrained from taking a strong stance against individual Member States for such deterioration. This hands-off approach has contributed to a negative domino effect, with worsening of legislation in one country indirectly leading to more restrictive moves in another. A Europe-wide civil society initiative to push for a stronger role for European institutions in safeguarding and protecting the independence and pluralism of the media is long overdue.

The European Initiative for Media Pluralism brings together nearly one hundred organisations, media, and professional bodies from throughout the continent running a European Citizens Initiative, a new tool of transnational participatory democracy allowing at least one million citizens in at least 7 EU member states to present directly to the European Commission a legislative proposal. We demand of the European Commission to draft a Directive on media pluralism containing: a) effective legislation to avoid concentration of ownership in the media and advertisement sectors; b) guaranteed independence of supervisory bodies from political power; c) definition of conflict of interests to avoid media moguls occupying high political office; d) monitoring systems to regularly check the health and independence of the media in member states.

The Initiative has received broad support from the cultural, academic, and political world. But most important of all, we aim to mobilise citizens from throughout Europe to stand up and demand that the European institutions show their commitment to fundamental rights and civil liberties, even when member states increasingly fail to do so. For this we need to reach the crucial figure of one million signatures, a number which will allow to open a legislative process at EU level.

Topics discussed:

DemocracyEuropeGood Society

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  1. Posted by Ginny Lowndes

    The Murdoch family own well over 70% of all Australian media. It has significant interference in our democratic process.

    Reply