European Commission ‘Confused and Contradictory’ on Media Crisis, Says EFJ


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

media crisis.


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

President Barroso."


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