EFJ Launches “Devastating” Survey on Foreign Ownership in CEE Countries

The European Federation of Journalists, the regional group of the International Federation of Journalists, published today an alarming report on how foreign media companies are plundering the national media resources of central and Eastern Europe.

The report, Eastern Empires: Foreign Ownership in Central and Eastern European Media, adds to concerns over media concentration in recent weeks following legal developments pertaining to media diversity in Australia and the United States.

This publication illustrates the extent of foreign media ownership in the EU accession countries. “It is clear that national media are being snatched out of local hands to feed the appetite of expanding transnational conglomerates,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary, “and the consequences are devastating for local independent groups.”

The report also shows that in the years since the fall of the Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, the encroachment of Western media conglomerates into these countries has prevented, or at least hampered the growth of independent nationally-based media groups.

Furthermore, given the absence of efficient journalists’ unions in many of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the threat to journalists’ professional and social rights, under the umbrella of these media moguls and their financial clout, is growing.

“If Europe’s media is to have a future even remotely connected to its traditional role as a watchdog over the exercise of political and corporate power and as a provider of quality information in the public interest, the issue of media concentration must be on the European agenda,” said White.

On the eve of the revision of the Television Without Frontiers Directive and the drafting of a future Constitution for the European Union, several European actors, including members of the European Parliament and the EFJ, have reiterated the need for a commitment to diversity of ownership and pluralism as Union values.

The survey can be downloaded in either Word or Pdf format from:

European Federation of Journalists - Publications

Further Information: 0032 2 235 2200/02

The EFJ represents about 300,000 journalists in Europe.