A European Media Freedom Act (EMFA)

The European Union upholds media freedom and pluralism as pillars of democracy and enablers of free and open debate. In order to fulfil their special role, media services must fully benefit from unhindered internal market freedoms.

The objective of the EMFA would be to improve the functioning of the internal market for media, build on the fundamental freedoms in light of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and complement the existing EU media framework, currently based on the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD).

With the EMFA, the Commission intends to take yet another step to ensure the proper functioning of the EU media market, in particular by eliminating barriers to the establishment and operation of media companies, and safeguard a free and pluralistic media ecosystem. As stated in the 2022 Commission Work Programme, the EMFA’s primary goal would be to improve transparency, accountability and independence around actions affecting media freedom and pluralism.

The Commission is initiating this public consultation as part of its evidence-gathering exercise, in order to identify issues that may require intervention through the EMFA.

The consultation intends to collect views on the most important issues affecting the functioning of the internal media market, including different types of interference in media, as well as economic trends. It covers three main areas pertaining to media markets, the first one focuses on transparency and independence (e.g. scrutiny of media market transactions, transparency of media ownership and audience measurement), the second on conditions for their healthy functioning (e.g. exposure of the public to a plurality of views, media innovation in the EU market) and the third one on fair allocation of state resources (e.g. independence of public service media, transparency and fair distribution of state advertising). Feedback is also expected on the underpinning governance options for the Act that could build on the European Regulators' Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA).

The proposal is set to be presented by the Commission in the third quarter of 2022. The open public consultation seeks to gather views, evidence and data from citizens, in particular journalists, media (both private and public service media), academics, civil society, public authorities, businesses and all interested parties to help the Commission to shape these new rules.

Input can be provided until March 21, 2022.