New ECI demands Sunshine Rules on Mass Media
A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on media pluralism has been started this summer to address the increasing concentration of ownership and power in the media sector to the detriment of freedom of speech in many European countries. The idea was first launched by the international NGO European Alternatives that is based in Italy.
“After years of fruitless efforts towards overcoming the monopoly of the media group of Berlusconi, we decided to go for an ECI on this issue”, says Lorenzo Marsilli of European Alternatives and founding member of Democracy International.
While in the process of planning the ECI the NGO realised that media monopoly affects older and newer democracies alike. Currently activists from nine EU member states - Italy, Britain, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria - back the initiative.
The ECI on media pluralism demands amendment of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (or adoption of a new Directive on Media Pluralism) providing for partial harmonisation of national rules on media ownership and transparency. It also suggests the setting of EU standards to ensure sufficient independence of media supervisory bodies.
On 21 September 2012 the ECI on media pluralism was presented to journalists and NGOs in Sofia. Daniela Bozhinova, Deputy Chair of Democracy International, attended the meeting. The ECI on media pluralism will be the first to be implemented in a number of EU member countries.
The ECI committee is awaiting registration of the initiative by the European Commission in October to launch the signature-gathering campaign. The campaign will challenge the capacity and preparedness of national institutions to accommodate electronic signing of petitions and verification of signatures.
The text of the ECI proposal on can be downloaded at:
Text by Daniela Bozhinova, Deputy Chairperson of Democracy International.