European Journalists Back Call for Europe-Wide Action Against Media Concentration

The European Federation of Journalists, representing more than 200,000 across the continent, today welcomed a call for protests over media concentration and its threats to pluralism from the French Media Observatory and the French journalists’ unions SNJ and SNJ-CGT.

“Journalists and citizens need to work together to defend public service values,” said Arne König, the chairman of the European Federation of Journalists. “We fully support the solidarity actions between unions and civil society groups calling for limits on media concentration and an end to the excessive commercialization of media.”

Tomorrow, (November 6), a demonstration will be held in Paris calling for free information, quality and pluralism in media. It is a major event in which more than 50 union and civil society groups and thousands of others join to support the movement in favour of media quality.

The demonstrators are pressing for the defence of public broadcasting and new limits on media concentration in France. “We note with increasing concern how media concentration is intensifying in France where a handful of owners control the major media and where politicians are not just passive, but complicit in the process,” said König. “Sadly, the situation is similar in many other European countries.”

The EFJ says that in Britain media ownership rules were eased last year and the Netherlands and Germany are preparing to do the same. In Denmark the public channel TV2 is to be privatized, in Portugal government spokesmen are calling for “limited freedom” for public service media and in Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi continues to exercise unprecedented influence over major media – both private and public. “It is a matter of urgency to act against this trend,” said König. “The unions have a key role to play in this fight.”

He said the EFJ is calling on journalists’ groups across Europe to support the French call for new pressure on governments and the European Union to counter the drift towards more concentration and less quality in media and to act in defence of fundamental freedoms and editorial independence.

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EFJ Contact: +32 2 235 22 00
The EFJ represents more than 200,000 journalists in over 40 countries