AEJ Greece Resolution: ‘Position of journalists increasingly delicate!’
The current financial and wider economic crisis, the duration and depth of which is visibly increasing, has dealt a blow to the functioning of the media across Europe.
There may be differences from country to country, but the overall problem is here.
At the same time, the prevailing crisis atmosphere has undermined at the eyes of citizens the credibility of all vectors that present, analyse critically and comment on events; in that respect, the role of the media is of central importance, so equally important is their being called into question by public opinion. Both the negative impact the economic crisis has on the operation of media companies and their overall questioning on the part of citizens – as readers, viewers or audience – have made the position of journalists increasingly delicate.
For these reasons:
• We have to consider that, in the exercise of their powers and especially in undertaking legislative initiatives, EU institutions should carefully take into account any potential negative implications they may have on, or problems they make to, the functioning of the media. They should evaluate the negative impact on the economics of media companies, on which depend not only the status of journalists but also media independence.
• No further burdens should be placed on the operation of the media. However understandable the interest to support internet media, the financial health and the credibility of traditional media – first and foremost of the written Press – should in no way be put into jeopardy. Their function of effective controls of the powers that be and thus as supports of democratic institutions should not be disregarded.
• Special support should be given to the functioning of newspapers, as a focal point for the trust of citizens. Publications of the written Press for which provision is made in EU countries should not be discouraged, since they contribute to the trust of public opinion and to the information function of newspapers. Especially in times of crisis, the publication of data on the part of companies leads to the consolidation of public trust that is sorely lacking. In the respect, the position of the European Newspaper Publishers Association to the Commission consultation on transparency (modernization of Directive 2004/109/EC) should be carefully studied.
• The general rule of subsidiarity should be respected insofar equilibria of the quite sensitive media sector are concerned; i.e. no practices that have evolved at Member State level should be disturbed, as long as there exists no superseding need of change through a Community intervention.
AEJ Greece ([email protected])