This report presents the findings and recommendations of the High Level Group (HLG) on Media Pluralism and Freedom, chaired by Professor Vaira Vīķe‐Freiberga with Professor Herta Däubler‐Gmelin, Professor Luís Miguel Poiares Pessoa Maduro and Ben Hammersley. The remit of the Group was to provide a set of recommendations for the respect, the protection, the support and the promotion of pluralism and freedom of the media in Europe.
The HLG recognises that a free and pluralistic media is crucial for European democracy. But there are currently a number of challenges which can potentially restrict journalistic freedom or reduce pluralism, whether through political influence, undue commercial pressures, the changing media landscape with new business models, or the rise of the new media. At the same time, the misconduct of some journalists, which has recently come to light, also has the potential to undermine the sector’s credibility and, as a consequence, long term viability.
The HLG acknowledges that the main responsibility for maintaining media freedom and pluralism lies with the Member States. However, the European Union also has an important role to play.
Beyond cross‐border issues which arise in the Single Market, including competition policy issues, the EU also has a role in upholding the fundamental rights of EU citizens.
In addition, as argued in this report, the EU must also act in this area when necessary to uphold the rights of freedom of movement and to protect the democratic sphere necessary for the functioning of EU democracy, in case this might be threatened by restrictions on media freedom and pluralism in one of the member states.