mediaIn January 2011, Hungary found itself at the centre of a controversy over a new media law that threatened to overshadow the country’s EU Presidency (and saw thousands take to the streets in protest). Rather than being an isolated incident, however, some see the situation in Hungary as being indicative of a wider erosion of press freedoms taking place right across Europe.

In 2010, Reporters Without Borders published its Press Freedom Index under the headline “Europe falls from its pedestal,” claiming that media independence in Europe was steadily being undermined through political interference. The next index (published for the period 2011/2012) argues that several European countries “fall far behind the rest of the continent” and that the gap is growing. The report highlights the situation in Bulgaria and Greece as being of particular concern.

Next week, Debating Europe will be attending the Pan-European Forum on Media Pluralism and New Media in Brussels. Miklos Haraszti, former OSCE representative on freedom of the media, who supports the event, had this to say on the forum’s website:

Governmental or oligarchic monopolies are getting thicker by the year, and not only in post-Soviet nations but also inside the EU walls. The burgeoning internet-based media alone cannot provide for a functioning diversity of public opinion, and yet they are already under attack. This Pan-European Forum should pick the brains of all those concerned for the future of our shared freedoms, and move the European Union beyond non-intervention to become a protector of media diversity in our nations.

What do YOU think? We’ll try to put some of your comments and thoughts to the speakers at the event (including journalists, editors, politicians and academics). How can we guarantee media pluralism in Europe? With many media organisations struggling in the face of changing technology and tightening budgets, are we going to see a media landscape dominated by a few corporate monopolies? Or could new media (as we asked you last month) be a way to guarantee a plurality of opinions and voices? As ever, let us know your comments in the form below.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – David Carroll

14 comments Post a commentComment


  1. Christos Mouzeviris

    Well I agree with Mr Haraszti…Nothing more to say… More European media, channels, radio, newspapers, blogs, magazines, independent from any national control and their elites..There are many young journalists, bloggers, that think outside their national “box”, and see things in a more “pan-European” way… You have the dough ready Europe, so why don’t you bake it?

  2. catherine benning

    The first step has to be to tighten strongly the right to monopoly. Look at the insane way Rupert Murdoch was able to exploit the situation through his money and the power that gave him. He was akin to an aggresive cancer unable to be removed.

    What we need is a press and media service that gives a wide view on all matters political. And they must be pressed into being responsible for the content of their comment being accurate and not provided by hearsay, lies and gossip, or such a blatant policitcal bias to the point of absurd declarations which people who know little glean from a raving headline.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2148208/Prisoner-vote-row-European-judges-insist-prisoners-MUST-vote.html

    We, in the UK, have a run on absurd declarations on the motives, policies and direction of Europe. Rupert Murdoch for example was vehementy anti European involvement by Britian and yet he was not British. He was a propaganda machine for the US mainly. And have you read our Daily Mail? They live in fantasy land when it comes to Europe, I don’t know how they get away with it.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2162992/Now-Europe-demands-15m-vindictive-garlic-tax.html

    This does not mean I do not find many European policies absolute lunacy at times, but, I strongly beiieve in Europe as a federalist union. If you like, the United States of Europe. However, I do not see it as a free for all for countries that have no right to be part of it, for either geographic reason or because they are fiscally not an advantage to it. I also see the blending of cultures that are light years apart in every way as an unhealthy advancement of the European ethos. Rather than create a stable environment of communal civilisation it destroys any kind of concrete union before it has time to thrive.

    This is more my kind of headline.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/10/britain-can-change-eu-better-leave

  3. Sunny Cvitkovic Anderson

    In Croatia we have WAZ, RTL and Styria Medien AG “news” corporations. And Soros, he still has few local media in his dirty hands. How can we get really informed, do not know! MI6(WAZ), CIA(RTL) and few international multi billionaires and local tycoons have everything in their hands. They are creating “reality” as they needed. Local public television HRT is in hands of politics, actually in hands of of EU i USA bureaucracy, and that means we are going back to heavy influence of big so called news corps. Local media “elite” is all coming from communist regime, few years ago they hated “dirty capitalists and imperialists” and today they are the biggest fans and they are their mouth peaces. If you think I am overreacting, check the ownerships of WAZ (Westdeutche Allgemeine Zeitung) and RTL!

  4. Nikolai Holmov

    The reason media plurality is under threat is that traditional media (print) is simply not profitable as an independent operation.

    Even if we limit Murdoch and his ilk to ownership of x number of titles, those remaining will need either a very rich sponsor to back a money losing operation or they will be faced with sharing back office staff, printing facilities etc etc.

    Ultimately when that happens the titles will either cease, merge or become part of a stable of titles under one owner.

    The issue of plurality cannot be addressed without major sponsors until the media themselves work out how to be profit making independently of major backers who have their own political agenda.

    Traditional advertising revenues are no longer sufficient to support the printed media and pay-walls on line with so many free sources of news, make it a necessity for those having a pay-wall to produce outstanding journalism for anybody to subscribe.

    National public broadcasters are no longer the bastions of unbiased reporting they once were in many nations and many clearly display a bias either left or right.

    When the media discovers how to make itself profitable without the need for heavyweight financial backers or government subsidies, then and only then will a truly independent, financially worthwhile 4th estate reemerge to former glories (and public expectations).

  5. Eusebio Manuel Vestias Pecurto

    Manter o pluralismo nos meis da comunicação é crucial para o processo democrático nos estados membros e na União Europeia Os cidadão tem direito de formar opiniões sem serem influenciados por fontes dominantes

  6. Dobrinka Peicheva

    Media pluralism may be seen as one of M.Veber’s ideal types.It is allways under threat. It is that media are not profitable as an independent operations.Media independence is a dream

  7. Tünde Novák

    Szükség van új média szabályra.A szabadosság nem egyenlő a szabadsággal! Számomra a szabadság az egyik mérőfok!Tessenek megnézni a régi rómaiakat,görögöket akik fennen hirdették a szabadságot.DE! Mi magyarok a puszták népe is igen szereti a szabadságot!!!T

  8. Gerry Mavris

    Cyprus on July 1 , when it assumes the EU presidency must put forward the motion for EU wide economic, political and military sanctions to be applied on both Turkey and Britain for their blatant violation of Cypriot sovereignty by Turkish and British military forces. This is the time for all the Euro-zone to come together and apply the most extensive economic sanctions with political and military pressure to expel Turkish and British military forces from Cyprus forever. Turkey and Britain are both the prime cause of the economic crises inflicting both Greece and Cyprus at the moment, since Turkey and Britain have forced Greece to spend heavily of military expenditure to guarantee the freedom of Greece and Cyprus from Turkish imperialism and Turkish military aggression, so that the the British desire of undermining the Euro currency would come true and extinguished by the colossal 340 billion euro Greek military debt. Now is the time .The Eurozone must get back at the Bitish led coalition that wants to make the EURO currency disappear from existence. The European Union must APPLY the most extensive economic, political and military sanctions possible on both Turkey and Britain to get them both OUT of Cyprus. This is the duty of the Cypriot Government and every Euro-zone government on July 1, 2012.

  9. Gerry Mavris

    Cyprus on July 1 , when it assumes the EU presidency must put forward the motion for EU wide economic, political and military sanctions to be applied on both Turkey and Britain for their blatant violation of Cypriot sovereignty by Turkish and British military forces. This is the time for all the Euro-zone to come together and apply the most extensive economic sanctions with political and military pressure to expel Turkish and British military forces from Cyprus forever. Turkey and Britain are both the prime cause of the economic crises inflicting both Greece and Cyprus at the moment, since Turkey and Britain have forced Greece to spend heavily on military expenditure to guarantee the freedom of Greece and Cyprus from Turkish imperialism and Turkish military aggression, so that the the British desire of undermining the Euro currency would come true and extinguished by the colossal 340 billion euro Greek military debt. Now is the time .The Eurozone must get back at the British led coalition that wants to make the EURO currency disappear from existence. The European Union must APPLY the most extensive economic, political and military sanctions possible on both Turkey and Britain to get them both OUT of Cyprus. This is the duty of the Cypriot Government and every Euro-zone government on July 1, 2012.

    • catherine benning

      What you are missing is, Britain is in bed with the Americans and it is the Americans who want Turkey in Europe. They want it because they have bases there. In fact they have wanted this since Kennedy was President, this is what he almost created a third world nuclear war for. The row with Russia over the bases in Turkey was thorn in his side.

      Britain somehow feels it is safe with the US running its political show, and the Europeans have bought into this as well. Which is why we have so many politically correct policies being pushed down our throats, like it or not. And if you don’t believe me on this, all you have to do is check out when these social changes to society, etc., took place in the US and you will find they began years before Europe picked them up. The question being, why did Europe pick them up when they knew of the chaos caused in that country from the fall out. Money is why, banking.

      Back to the UK. Our present right wing government plans to pull the UK out of Europe at the first opportunity as they want to become closer to the US. Reason, they were in on the bank frauds along the yanks and they made a lot of money out of it. They think they will be able to do it again, and that Europe is finished as the US Wall Street with their government backing brought about the crash of the Euro because the dollar was threatened by its popularity.

      So, in part you are right, Britain is for Turkey being part of Europe, but, it is mainly because their masters, the US administrators want us tax payers to pay for their political engineering regarding weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and Israel. They could not give a hoot about Cyprus. They want to curry Turkish favour. That’s it.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c5kHBUQp6c

  10. Vicente Silva Tavares

    Americans have laws against concentration on media. Why can’t we have the same restrictions? Putting a boundary to the share of media in each country.

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