On 7 February, a pan-European coalition of citizens and nearly one hundred media groups, professional bodies, Independent Journalists and Civil Society Organisations launched the online collection of signatures for the first European Citizens' Initiative targeting media freedom and pluralism. The European Citizens' Initiative allows citizens to collect at least one million signatures online or offline to present a legislative proposal directly to the European Commission to change EU law.
“This is an important initiative which the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom has strongly supported from the start," Granville Williams, the UK Coordinator, said. “Across Europe abuses of media power or the interference of politicians in the regulation of media, are problems which can only be addressed by passing legislation to protect media pluralism."
The proposed ECI calls on the Commission to pass legislation containing:
a) effective legislation to avoid concentration of ownership in the media and advertisement sectors;
b) guaranteed independence of media regulatory bodies, with a politically and culturally balanced and socially diverse membership;
c) definition of conflict of interests with media ownership;
d) broadcast, print and online media should be required to submit to a national media authority sufficient ownership information to allow identification of the beneficial and ultimate owners of media outlets.
Countries participating in the launch of the ECI are: France, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, United Kingdom, Romania, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.
Website of the initiative: www.mediainitiative.eu