Free and pluralistic media and politics are challenged

During the post-World War II era, visionary European leaders established institutions and developed conventions that combined media and democracy to keep the peace in Europe. The Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE (based on the Helsinki Final Act) all regard media freedom as a fundamental pillar of democracy. Today, in several countries we find that the links between free and pluralistic media and politics are being challenged.

Hate speech and fake news are rife, citizens are getting more and more confused as propaganda undermines the credibility of our news media, and our fundamental values are under attack. Impartial and accurate journalism is under attack.

It is high time to address the importance of uncensored, pluralistic media for the development of our free democracies in Europe.

Panels Free European Media 2018

  • Keeping new media and independent journalism free from state control
  • New about media in Poland
  • Pluralism and democracy
  • Legislation and media freedom
  • Ethical standards and self-censorship

Panel 1: Pluralism creates and sustains democracy
Pluralism as the driver for an independent media
Media financing and preserving the arm’s length principle
Preventing public service media from becoming state media
Keeping politicians out of the editorial suite
How to fight the weaponization of information

Panel 2: How legislation violate media freedom
Mapping violations of the media
The impact of the Council of Europe safety platform
Surveillance – a modern way to harass the media
Media legislation on the wrong track
Access to information for journalists and citizens

Panel 3: News about media in Poland
Media status in Poland
Free media
Public service
Keeping politicians out of the editorial suite

Panel 4: Ethical standards and self-censorship
Improving Press councils across Europe
How to deal with fake news and manipulation
Are codes of conduct working?

Panel 5: Keeping new media and independent journalism from state control
Private media and developing new markets
Saving public service media as one of the pillars of liberal democracy
Can the big internet giants be effectively regulated at the national level?
Innovative youngsters – what is their influence?
The future of investigative journalism

The project

We need a game changer, and as mechanisms to make a difference, the project consists of four elements, where the focal point will be a conference on the topic of Free Media in Europe.

  • An analysis on how media are affected in targeted areas in Europe (incl. outcome of the EU “Media Pluralism Monitor” and results of the CoE study on self-censorship).
  • The media situation in countries where democracy is in decline or threatened (i.e. outcome of the CoE Platform for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists).
  • Results of the follow-up of the report on press freedom and media pluralism carried out by the so-called High-Level Group delivered to the EU Commission.
  • A debate book containing concrete conflicts between media and politics from various countries in Europe. Journalists from the selected countries should be authors of the chapters.

A communication strategy should ensure a public debate. Invited to the conference:

  • Journalists and media organisations;
  • Media regulators and representatives of press councils;
  • Academics;
  • Politicians, civil servants;
  • Citizens;
  • People working for human rights and democracy;
  • Members of intergovernmental parliaments in Europe

The output from the conference should point out the methodology to find the crucial link in the triangle: Citizens – Media – Governmental bodies.

Free European Media 2018

The Free European Media Conference 2018 is organized by European Federation of Journalists, Council of Europe, Nordic Journalism Centre, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom and the International Press Institute.