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Pirates on the European Media Freedom Act: Criticism must not be silenced

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

Today, the Members of the European Parliament adopted the Media Freedom Act. The rules drawn up are intended to better protect journalists from arbitrary content removal on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and from spyware attacks such as those carried out using the Pegasus software. Pirate MEPs voted in favour of the law, but criticise the lack of a ban on spying on journalists.

Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer comments:

“The Media Freedom Act is a milestone in the protection of journalists in Europe. Countries like Hungary in particular, where there is hardly any critical press left, urgently need it. The fact that spying on journalists’ mobile phones with spyware remains explicitly possible is unworthy of a democracy in which freedom of the press is guaranteed. However, the EU lacks the competence to stop the hacking of journalists’ mobile phones under the guise of protecting national security.

The planned European body for media services is, worryingly, supposed to coordinate ‘measures against foreign media’. However, if we start cutting off our own citizens’ access to foreign sources of information and censoring foreign media, I believe this is not compatible with the principles of a free country and a responsible citizen. The EU Media Freedom Act also fails to protect legal media content from platform censorship. This means that the arbitrary terms and conditions of social media companies take precedence over the freedom of the press.

To summarise, this media freedom law means inadequate but significantly stronger protection of the free media as a pillar of our democracy.”