Finland supports the objectives of the European Media Freedom Act

Press release 10.11.2022 13.45 fi sv en

Magazine stand. (Image: Anna Malygina / Shutterstock)

On 10 November 2022, the Government submitted a Union communication to Parliament on the European Media Freedom Act (MFA), outlining Finland’s positions on the Act. Finland as a rule supports the aim of the Act to harmonise the legal framework of EU Member States in the media sector to enhance the functioning of the internal market and to promote media freedom.

On 16 September 2022, the Commission issued a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on media freedom. The proposal aims to protect media pluralism and independence in the EU and to make it easier for public and private media companies to operate in the single market. The Act is part of the EU’s efforts to promote democratic participation, combat disinformation and support media freedom and pluralism.

The Act would prevent Member States from influencing, directly or indirectly, editorial decisions of media service providers. Media service providers would have to ensure the transparency of their ownership.

With regard to the public service media, the provisions on persons selected for leading positions in media service providers would be harmonised within the EU. The Act also imposes obligations on the content of public service media.

The Act proposes that a new independent advisory body, the European Board for Media Services, be established to assist the Commission in the implementation and enforcement of the Act.

Finland supports the promotion of media freedom and pluralism

The Government supports the objectives of the proposed Act to promote media freedom and the functioning of the media market within the EU. Media freedom and plurality are crucial in strengthening the rule of law, democracy and anti-corruption efforts.

The Government considers it important that the administrative burden of the new obligations arising from the proposed Act on national authorities and media service providers be reasonable. The Government also draws attention to several paragraphs in the Act that need further clarification in terms to the relationship between the proposal and existing regulation, official duties and national room for manoeuvre.

What next?

The proposal will be discussed in a Council of the European Union working group, in which Finland actively participates.

The Media Freedom Act would enter into force on the twentieth day after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. For the most part, it would be applied six months after its entry into force.

Inquiries

Eero Salojärvi, Senior Officer, eero.salojarvi(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 577 3284

Roosa Patrakka, Senior Officer, roosa.patrakka(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 431 7036

Aino Sipari, Director of Unit, aino.sipari(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 326 5829