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Research Paper on the Proposal for a European Media Freedom Act

In anticipation of the Proposal for a European Media Freedom Act, Spark have taken a closer look at potential subjects which might be regulated within the Act.

Media freedom and pluralism as a Union priority

Media freedom and pluralism have long been considered pillars of democracy. Since 2018, the European Commission has stepped up its work in this area with multiple initiatives. The next measure is likely to be proposed soon and is that of the European Media Freedom Act (‘EMFA’), due to be introduced in the third quarter of 2022.

The publication of a research paper

In anticipation of the Proposal for an EMFA, Spark was curious about the potential regulatory fragmentation that may result from another initiative focused on media freedom and pluralism, especially in such close proximity to other legislative initiatives, such as, inter alia, the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act. Therefore, we created a Research Paper delving into some of the potential subjects that may be included in a proposal. In particular, when looking at each potential subject, we have assessed the compatibility of the inclusion of these subjects with the pre-existing EU instruments in the area of media freedom and media pluralism, as well as whether these subjects would be inconsistent with the Commission’s Better Regulation Guidelines and the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

The Research Paper concludes that were all the identified potential subjects included, there could be concerns about over regulation in the field, due to the vast regulatory framework already in existence. The only potential subjects where this overregulation did not present an issue was for the inclusion of state intervention of the media and protection of journalists. In considering whether to introduce an EMFA, it is important for the Commission to thoroughly consider this overregulation in light of the Better Regulation Guidelines, as well as the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity, to ensure the utmost coherence of the EU regulatory framework regarding media freedom and media pluralism.

You can download the full Research Paper here: Research Paper on the European Union’s initiative on ‘Safeguarding media freedom and pluralism in the internal market (Media Freedom Act)’

This paper presents independent research made possible through Google funding. The views expressed herein are solely those of the authors, and full intellectual independence from any third parties – including Google – has been guaranteed.

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