The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today
welcomed David Cameron, the British Prime Minister's call for a new,
independent media regulator to ensure quality and pluralism in the British
What started on the British isle as a scandal of the
News of the World, has developed into
the biggest media scandal of the post-war era. The phone-hacking scandal at the
News of the World, revealed corrupted
police men and the cosy relationship between politicians, police and the media.
It created an unprecedented crisis in British politics and shaked the foundation of quality journalism.
"We welcome this long, overdue commitment from the
British Government to regulate media moguls and restore public trust in
journalism together with the professional organisations in Great Britain", said
Arne König, EFJ President.
"This Murdoch-gate could not better highlight the
need for two major objectives: first, we have all looked for too long into
media moguls dominating and influencing public life in Europe and thereby
damaging democracy and journalism. We need urgently a European regulation on
media concentration," said König. "Secondly, this scandal highlights the need
for a commitment to ethical journalism and a ‘conscience clause' to protect
journalists from ruthless employers.
Last week, the National Journalists' Union (NUJ), the
EFJ affiliate in the UK, had an emergency meeting to discuss the impact of the
hacking scandal after the closure of the News
of the World. Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ General Secretary called for
support of a conscience clause recognised by law to protect journalists from
editorial pressure to slant their stories to reflect the wishes of proprietors.
These developments will also have
a far-reaching impact on the media in Europe and across the globe. With the
question of media plurality being once again pushed to the forefront of public
debate, global corporate media ownership may be weakened and more diversity
could be ushered in provided that it seizes the opportunity to promote a new
discussion about journalism as a public good.
Under heavy pressure from the
public and politicians in Britain, Murdoch has to drop his bid to buy full
control of the country's highly profitable commercial TV operator BskyB.
The EFJ represents more than 250.000 members in
over 30 countries.