the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), accused the European Commission
of confusion and contradiction in its response to Europe's
European Federation of Journalists says a statement by competition Commissioner
Nelly Kroes calling on Sweden
to reduce its support to the crisis-hit press sector flatly contradicts the
opinion of EC President José-Manuel Barroso who recently told the European
Federation of Journalists that the economic problems overwhelming much of the
European press required public intervention.
is a muddle of confusion and contradiction in Brussels and lack of coherent vision about
the media crisis, "said Arne König, the President of the EFJ. "The decision of Nelly
Kroes against support for the local press in Sweden shows a lack of vision and contradicts
the EC Commissioner for competition Nelly Kroes called on Sweden to reduce the funding it
provides to papers in large towns, claiming that they breach EU rules on state
aid and create undue market distortions.
Brussels wants a gradual reduction in the maximum aid provided to large
newspapers in the big cities, and for what aid it does provide to be for a
limited time only", she declared.
approach is in stark contrast to the assurance given on 27 May to European
Federation of Journalists leaders by President Barroso who in a letter to the
EFJ wrote: "The social and economic consequences of the (media) financial
crisis call for political responses. Regulation and public intervention are
becoming increasingly necessary in several sectors".
he cautioned that "urgent state intervention, and regulation cannot respond to
all challenges of the media sector", he was clear that "the issue of public
intervention is important".
traditionally supports the second-biggest paper in a city or town with state
subsidies in order to assure political and media pluralism. The Swedish
government can now either agree with the decision of the Commission or put
forward counterproposal for the consideration of the Commission.
Lindblom Hulthén, the chairwoman of the EFJ affiliate, the Swedish Union of
Journalists, declared that "far from supporting smaller newspapers, the
European Commission's perspective threatens their existence. This is a question
of national democracy and the possibility to uphold pluralism. The European
Commission should not intervene in this issue".
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EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists
in more than 30 countries of Europe