The European Parliament has repeatedly advocated press freedom and media pluralism in the EU and abroad. May 3 is World Press Freedom Day.
Already in 2018 the EP adopted a resolution on media pluralism and media freedom in the EU, noting the political developments in various members states, that have led to increased pressures on and threats against journalists.
The European Commission presented in December 2020 an Action plan for the media and audiovisual sector- a strategic roadmap for the recovery and transformation of the sector, with 10 concrete actions. The EC might also prepare a European Media Freedom Act to complement the legislative arsenal in order to ensure that media freedom and pluralism are the pillars of our democracies.
In November Parliament called for new EU rules to curtail vexatious legal actions intended to intimidate and silence critical voices. MEPs proposed a series of measures to counteract the threat that Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) pose to journalists, NGOs and civil society in Europe. SLAPPs are frivolous legal actions based on exaggerated and often abusive claims, aiming to intimidate and professionally discredit their targets, with the ultimate objective of blackmailing and silencing them.
The European Parliament has recently launched the Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism. The prize commends outstanding journalism revolving around the principles and values of the European Union. The last Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) annual report and index on press freedom has highlighted diverging trends within the European Union, and has led to calls for action to ensure the media are protected.