The PACE’s Committee on Culture has called for stronger commitment from governments to guaranteeing journalists’ security and freedom and upholding media pluralism and independence. As the committee members pointed out: “There is no independence when journalists and their families are exposed to physical threats or are subject to arbitrary detentions, or when the media outlets which employ them run the risk of simply being put out of business”.
In a draft resolution adopted on the basis of a report by Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), the parliamentarians call for independent reviews of laws and practices in Europe which have, or could have, a chilling effect on media freedom, including laws on national security, terrorism and defamation. Steps should also be taken to improve legal provisions concerning transparency of media ownership, review public service media governance mechanisms and ensure the transparent operation of regulatory bodies.
Likewise, the text adopted urges that appointment procedures for public service media managers and staff requiring public authority involvement “respect the role of the opposition”, and also that funding systems for public service and private media be reviewed to avoid them being used to “exercise editorial influence or to threaten the recipients’ institutional autonomy”.