European reporters’ unions want EU to back journalism as ‘public good’

In response to the crisis of journalism in Europe, journalists’ unions from across the continent are to launch a campaign to press the EU to encourage member states to strengthen the sector. If governments can fund theatre and art galleries to protect cultural pluralism, they say, they can fund journalism to protect information pluralism as well. At its annual meeting in Istanbul, the European Federation of Journalists, which represents unions from 24 countries, resolved to push Brussels to respond to the crisis that is seeing media revenues in a “spiral of decline.” Specifically, the unions plan to lobby the European Commission and MEPs to push EU member states “to open up national debates on strengthening journalism as a public good.” The unions’ main worry is the collapse of how to pay for journalism when advertisers are deserting the sector. The multiple closures of newspapers throughout Europe and slashing of the number of staff in newsrooms means that journalistic standards are rapidly declining, and with them, the checks and balances journalism provides to democratic societies. In particular, say the unions, publishers and broadcasters have targeted editing, investigative and specialist news reporting. The unions however stressed that any public solution should not endanger journalistic freedom. The organisation lays the blame for the crisis on the splintering of advertising and audiences online, reducing profits

http://euobserver.com/9/29899

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