Press publishers voice concerns about platform and selection criteria of the European Democracy, Audiovisual and Media Action Plans

ENPA, the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, and EMMA, the European Magazine Media Association, representing tens of thousands of press publications across Europe welcome that the Commission is looking into the challenges of media and journalism in Europe, especially as the sector has been severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

The European Democracy Action Plan and the Audiovisual and Media Action plan released today propose legislative and non-legislative measures that apply among others to the press sector.

Regarding the European Democracy Action Plan, EMMA-ENPA do not believe that an extension of the Commission's existing code of practice on disinformation is the way forward.

Overall, press publishers are concerned that the EU, Member States, gatekeeper platforms or third parties such as fact-checking organisations like the Journalism Trust Initiative would decide which publications are trustworthy and promoted on gatekeeper platforms and which ones pushed to irrelevance.

For these reasons, we would also oppose the EU or the Member States promoting or obliging platforms to cooperate with fact-checking organisations. Instead, readers should continue to be the ones deciding which publications are trustworthy or not.

Press publishers call for non-discriminatory access for all legal publications applicable to mega-platforms in the form of an asymmetrical ex-ante market regulation through the upcoming proposal on the Digital Market Act.

EMMA and ENPA are happy to engage in a constructive exchange as regards the challenges of our sector through the European News Media Forum by the Commission which aims at strengthening the cooperation with stakeholders on media-related issues.

Regarding the Audiovisual and Media Action Plan, we acknowledge that it lists financing opportunities for the press under the different recovery schemes. Still, we would like to reiterate that any financial help to the media can only be a short-term fix and needs to be truly universal.

Selective subsidies are not a solution for the preservation of a free market-financed press as they would lead to a distortion of competition and distortion of the formation of public opinion. Press publishers call instead for universal support for instance through the application of super-reduced or 0% VAT rates to the whole press ecosystem.

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