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Media Freedom Act: EU Commission wants to curb spyware and platform censorship

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The draft media freedom law contains requirements for spyware. Restrictions on press content by Facebook & Co. should be made more difficult.

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The EU Commission wants to protect the media better against influence and surveillance by government agencies and against more or less arbitrary deletions of content by online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This emerges from the draft for a media freedom law, which is available online at voonze. The Brussels government institution emphasizes: “Given its unique role, the protection of media freedom and media pluralism is an essential feature of a well-functioning internal market for media services.”

With this approach, the Commission also justifies the necessity of the planned regulation: media policy is actually largely a matter for the member states and, in Germany, for the federal states. However, the executive authority in Brussels sees a need for action: “There are a number of problems to be solved that impair the functioning of the internal market for media services and the activities of media service providers”.

In particular, according to the more than 70-page paper, media companies are confronted with obstacles “that hamper their activities and impair investment conditions in the internal market”. These included, for example, “different national regulations and procedures in relation to media freedom and pluralism”. This included in particular the examination of market concentrations and protectionist measures. This patchwork has led to a fragmentation of the internal market, which reduces legal certainty for media market players and creates additional costs for cross-border activities.

“European media service providers also face increasing interference in their editorial decisions and their ability to deliver high-quality media services” independently and in line with journalistic standards across the EU, the Commission warns. Most recently, she had filed a lawsuit against Hungary before the European Court of Justice because the authorities in the country had forced the independent radio station Klubradio to give up its FM broadcasting operations.

After all, according to the planned regulation, “uneven competitive conditions result from the opaque and unfair allocation of economic resources”. Above all, the lack of transparency in proprietary systems for measuring audience ratings leads to a distortion of advertising revenue and disadvantages service providers “who adhere to the standards agreed by the industry”.

Article 3 gives recipients of media services in the EU the right to “receive a variety of independent news and current content” in the interests of lively public discourse. The media service providers, in turn, should be able to carry out their economic activities in the internal market without restrictions other than those permitted under EU law.

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