European Commission Vice-President Vĕra Jourová Speech, at the #Media4Europe Conference Summit: Towards a healthy European news media sector (Hybrid, October 3rd 2021)

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to participate virtually in this Media For Europe conference.

Last time I was with you, the Commission had just presented a comprehensive approach to support the media sector. We had adopted our European Democracy Action Plan and our Media and Audiovisual Action Plan.

We are delivering on these plans and we are preparing our next steps.

Three weeks ago the Commission presented its first-ever recommendations to Member States on the safety of journalists.

Because no journalist should die or be harmed for doing their job.

We ask Member States to act to better protect journalists and media professionals.

We call for the creation of independent national support services, including helplines, legal advice, psychological support and shelters for journalists and media professionals facing threats.

We also call for an increased protection of journalists during demonstrations, greater online safety and particular support to female journalists.

There is a strong focus on the training of journalists and media professionals, and all those involved in their safety.

We will now closely monitor how Member States apply these recommendations and I know I can rely on your vigilance too.

There will be more to come, as announced by European Commission President von der Leyen in her 2021 State of the Union address.

We will propose a new legislation to protect media freedom and pluralism. The Media Freedom Act will be adopted in the course of next year.

We are also working on an initiative to protect journalists and civil society rights defenders against abusive litigation – the so-called strategic lawsuits against public participation or SLAPP. This initiative will include legislation and recommendations.

At the same time, we continue increasing our funding support and our work to bring funding opportunities together under a NEWS banner.

Over the summer, we published a €7.6 million call for journalism partnerships financed for the first time through the Creative Europe programme.

We strongly believe that cooperation across borders and across media can bring new ideas and nurture innovation. This is what we see today with Stars4Media.

We also support studies and discussions, like the one you have today, on content sharing and data to foster synergies.

This is an excellent preparation as we will hold in November a European News Media Forum focused on the industrial transformation of the media sector.

This is crucial as we need a strong media sector to fulfil its essential role in our democratic societies.

I thank you and wish you fruitful discussions.