EU must set standards for worldwide press freedom as it is essential for the preservation of democracy and checks on the three branches of power.
Karafillis Giannoulis, New Europe, 13.06.2013 On 13 June, during the plenary session of the European Parliament the MEPs adopted two resolutions on press freedom standards and the promotion of freedom of religion and belief. Marietje Schaake (ALDE, NL), rapporteur for press and media freedom in the world said. “The EU, as a community of values, should aspire to lead in ensuring the free word, whether blogged or spoken, and information, whether researched or photographed, are protected. Journalists and a free, pluralist media, are essential for democracies and checks on power. Freedom of speech and freedom after speech are at the core of open and free societies.” The MEPs stress that the press and media must be able to operate independently and “free of pressure through political and financial means.” According to the press release by the European Parliament, the MEPs are “alarmed at the general downward trend up the grading of the press and media freedom environments, both within and outside Europe.”The MEPs emphasised that some media in the EU have come under scrutiny themselves for unethical and allegedly illegal behaviour and point out that EU should take actions in order to solve the problem on its own, within its own borders. In regard with the freedom of religion and belief, the EP Members stressed that modern media tools allow for a greater degree of interconnectedness between cultures and faiths. Therefore, it is important establishing safeguards for avoiding intercultural violence as a reaction against acts of freedom of expression. “In its recommendation the Parliament adopted an ambitious set of instruments providing suggestions for the practical implementation of the new EU Guidelines in order to achieve remarkable progress in the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief in the world. These detailed priorities of action will allow the EU to make informed decisions about whose freedom of religion or belief is under attack, substantially help in ensuring a high level monitoring assessment and support in cases of violation of this fundamental right, as well as help promote freedom of religion or belief” said MEP Laima Liucija Andrikiene (EPP, LT).
The members of the European Parliament condemned the rising criminalization of expression and urge the governments of the EU Member States and the European Commission to lead the way in ensuring that the press freedom will remain independent, pluralistic and diverse.