Protect journalists to protect democracy

25.11.2020 10:56

Protect journalists to protect democracy

Daphne Caruana Galizia

If journalists cannot do their job freely, our democracies will cease to be democracies. We must do more to protect journalists and ensure freedom of the media and media pluralism in all EU Member States. These are the two main messages in a Report initiated by the EPP Group, which will be approved today by the plenary of the European Parliament.

"Disinformation, hate speech and the politicisation and capture of public media by ruling parties are the greatest threats to democracy, the rule of law, and the existence of the European Union today. We are at a turning point. If we do not stand up to defend free and independent media, fight disinformation and hate speech, and support a resilient and critical civil society, democracy will fall and the European Union will fall", warned the author of the Report, Magdalena Adamowicz MEP, ahead of today's vote.

The Report calls on the Commission to come forward with a law proposal to prevent so-called "strategic lawsuits against public participation" in order to protect independent media from vexatious lawsuits intended to silence or intimidate them. Insisting that public broadcasting must never become a tool for political party propaganda, the Report also highlights the need for a legal framework to supervise the operation of public service media providers.

Another proposal is the establishment of a permanent European fund of direct support for independent journalists. Magdalena Adamowicz concluded: "Journalists are being intimidated and murdered, here in the EU. We must stop at nothing to support and protect them. Today we are witnessing democracy being annulled. Today, power is being taken over with the help of lies. The media should serve the truth, not lies. The media should serve voters, not those in power. The media should help control power. The media should protect democracy, but it can also kill it. This is why the media must be independent."

Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States

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