On May 31st the first European Citizens’ Initiative on media pluralism will be launched in the European Parliament by a coalition of civil society organisations, academic departments, and media from 9 European member states. The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) allows at least one million citizens from at least seven member states to present a legislative proposal directly to the European Commission.
According to most independent accounts, the situation of media freedom and pluralism in the European Union is worsening. European Institutions have, so far, refrained from taking a strong stance against individual Member States for such deterioration. This hands-off approach seems to have contributed to a negative domino effect, with worsening of legislation in one country indirectly leading to restrictive moves in another, as recently evidenced by the closing down of Klubradio by the Hungarian government led by Viktor Orbán.
“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, and we plan to use this new tool of participative democracy to demand that European institutions really safeguard the right to independent and pluralistic information as sanctioned by the Lisbon Treaty and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights”, says Lorenzo Marsili, director of European Alternatives, one of the promoters of the Initiative.
The proposed ECI calls on the Commission to use its antitrust powers to fight concentration of the media market and dominant positions in member states, ensuring respect for pluralism and freedom of enterprise.
Countries participating in the launch of the ECI are: France, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, United Kingdom, Romania, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Portugal.
The launch will take place in the European Parliament, room PHS P7C050, 15.00h -18.30h.
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