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Parliamentary questions
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20 April 2020
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Magdalena Adamowicz
 Subject: Threat to media freedom in the EU Member States in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic

Reliable and unimpeded journalism is at the core of a democratic society and of civil society. The task of journalists is to scrutinise the actions of those in power, as well as to inform the public about changes taking place in the structure of the country.

Particularly at times of crisis, such as an economic crisis, armed conflict or the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, the work of journalists in the EU and around the world is crucial. Their work not only shines a light on the actions of authorities in a crisis, illuminating the dynamics of events and the scale of the problem, but, perhaps more importantly, it can reveal failures by the authorities as well as an inclination to manipulate certain facts. Journalists are on the front line in today’s pandemic. Their activities are key to combating the virus and preserving the healthy fabric of civil society.

Unfortunately, some EU countries are exploiting this situation to restrict freedom of speech and intimidate journalists, or prevent them from doing their job, on the pretext of tackling disinformation.

In this connection:

What kind of tools does the Commission intend to use to monitor and address the serious and progressive restriction of the right to information and of media freedom in the Member States under the guise of tackling the pandemic?

What action does the Commission plan to take in connection with attempts to restrict media freedom under the guise of combating disinformation, including changes to national legislation, during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Original language of question: PL
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