European Initiative for media pluralism launched in Italy

A press conference for the launch of the first European initiative for Media Pluralism and Press Freedom will be held in Rome on February, the 7th at 11,30 am at the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 349. In that occasion Tana de Zulueta, the Italian spokeperson of the campaign, and Franco Siddi, General secretary of the Italian journalists’ union will introduce the petition.

The European Citizens’ Initiative is a new tool of participatory democracy allowing citizens to collect at least one million signatures online or offline to present a legislative proposal directly to the European Commission, thereby changing EU law.

The situation of media freedom and pluralism in the European Union is worsening. Some countries, notably Hungary, suffer from a significant interference of political power seeking to control and direct the media. Some, notably the UK, suffer from problems of excessive concentration leading to undue influence of certain economic groups over political processes, notably Murdoch’s media empire. Others, particularly in the case of Italy, Bulgaria, and Romania, experience a dangerous overlap of economical, media, and political interests in the hands of the same people. European institutions have, so far, refrained from taking a strong stance against individual Member States for such deterioration.

The proposed ECI calls on the Commission to pass a Directive defending Media Pluralism in EU, containing:

  1. effective legislation to avoid concentration of ownership in the media and advertisement sectors;
  2. guaranteed independence of supervisory bodies, with a politically and culturally balanced and socially diverse membership;
  3. definition of conflict of interests with media ownership;
  4. 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.

During the press conference the way to sign the petition will be shown and who will be there could immediately adhere to the initiative.

“Our ambition is that of mobilising the citizenry in order to claim the commitment of European institutions in supporting civil rights and fundamental freedoms, even when the single States neglect them, as it is happening more and more”, Tana de Zulueta has explained.

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The Italian promoting committee includes:

FNSI, Articolo 21, European Alternatives/Alternative Europee, Libertà e Giustizia, CGIL, ARCI, MoveOn Italia, Consiglio Italiano del Movimento Europeo – CIME, Libera Informazione, Caffè News, Associazione da Sud, Cittadinanzattiva, Società Pannunzio per la libertà d’informazione, IRPI – Investigative Reporting Project Italy.