Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission fully agrees on the importance of independent and free media for the functioning of democracies. Over the last few years, a growing portfolio of actions in the field of media freedom and pluralism has been supported with the help of the European Parliament, through Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions.
In parallel, the Commission has increased support for media innovation through Horizon 2020. COVID-19 accelerates the need for innovation, for which the Commission has developed additional actions within the limits of the available instruments.
The Media and Audiovisual Action Plan, adopted in December 2020, puts forward a ‘NEWS’ initiative bundling these actions under a common banner to increase the coherence, visibility, and impact of actions supported under various funding streams.
As of 2021, a dedicated set of actions for news media is foreseen under the Creative Europe Programme for projects in the field of media literacy, media freedom and pluralism, and for collaborative projects in which media exchange best practices.
In addition, the EU’s investment programmes will be used to help the sector deploy innovation, data and digital technologies, and InvestEU will enhance access to finance.
To coordinate discussions on these actions as well as other funding opportunities and concerns, the Commission will organise a European News Media Forum to facilitate a structured dialogue, leverage best practices and steer innovation.
Furthermore, the Commission stands ready to work together with Member States to help the media sector recover and adapt, through recovery funds or innovative national policies.