The European Federation of
Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) today deplored the failure of the European Parliament to stand up for journalism
and press freedom in Europe after it narrowly threw out a resolution calling
for action to protect media pluralism.
The debate focused on the
crisis for media freedom in Italy
where Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi - the country's leading private media
owner - has used his political power to try to stifle independent journalism at
home and abroad. The EFJ says silence over the crisis in Italy gives a green light to other
governments to put undue pressure on media.
Commenting on the rejection
of a resolution on freedom of information in Italy
and in the European Union, the EFJ says that the Parliament has also wasted an
opportunity to speak out over the "intolerable state of free press rights in Italy" which
has undermined European democracy across the globe.
"It is deplorable that the
European Parliament cannot bring itself to defend the principles of press
freedom when they are under siege in one member state," said Aidan White EFJ
General Secretary. "Free journalism is a pillar of European democracy which
needs to be affirmed, defended and cherished. Here was a unique opportunity to
speak out for press freedom which has been wasted."
This week Members of the European Parliament voted down a proposal calling for EU
legislation to protect media pluralism in Europe
"without delay." The text was rejected by a tiny margin of 338 votes against
and 335 in favour with 13 abstentions.
motion also called on the European Parliament to condemn political interference
in media and to combat concentration of media ownership. But conservative politicians
in the EPP block opposed the move claiming it targeted the government of Italy
and that, anyway, the EU should not regulate media.
have been two opportunities to combat interference in European media
over the past ten years and they have been wasted, " said White. "Now another
has gone. It is no comfort that the argument is slowly being won. We need
EFJ says journalists are impatient for change. On 3 October, some 250,000 people
gathered in the centre of Rome
in an unprecedented demonstration against political interference in media by Berlusconi,
whose long record of interference in media including at the public broadcaster
RAI has made him notorious among European political leaders. He recently
launched legal action against a number of Italian and European media
for their reporting of his colourful private
Text of the rejected Resolution:
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in 30
more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 22 15