The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog

Category: EU (Page 1 of 18)

European Media Freedom Act and the protection of journalistic sources: still some way to go – Dirk Voorhoof

Blocks forming the words "free media" on a newspaperIn her State of the Union on 15 September 2021, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, declared: “Media companies cannot be treated as just another business. Their independence is essential. Europe needs a law that safeguards this independence – and the Commission will deliver a Media Freedom Act in the next year.” And on 16 September 2022 the European Commission put forward a number of measures to protect freedom and pluralism in the EU by introducing its European Media Freedom Act proposal (COM2022/457). Continue reading

Data damages (done dirt cheap?) – Ali Vaziri

A couple of developments on data protection damages: one from the EU which indicates that the likely direction of travel for the block’s highest court is that there’s no entitlement to compensation under the GDPR without showing harm which is more than “mere upset”; and the other from the UK which assessed damages for a personal data breach with no privacy implications at £250. Continue reading

The democratic fightback has begun: The European Commission’s new European Media Freedom Act – Damian Tambini

The European Commission has published a draft European Media Freedom Act (EMFA). If passed, this new law would represent a major shift in EU policy on the media, and a welcome shot in the arm for democracy across the Union. Freed of the Eurosceptic United Kingdom, during a perceived crisis of European democracy, there is widespread support for proposals to support media freedom, and the news media themselves are likely to give them full-throated support. Continue reading

Case Law, EU: RT France v. Council: General Court finds ban on Russia Today not a violation of right to freedom of expression – Ronan Ó Fathaigh and Dirk Voorhoof

On 27 July 2022, in RT France v. Council, the General Court of the European Union found that the ban on RT France in the EU did not violate the right to freedom of expression and media freedom, under Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Notably, the General Court sought to apply principles from case law of the European Court of Human Rights and international human rights law. Continue reading

Why social media firms will struggle to follow new EU rules on illegal content- Greig Paul

Social media allowed us to connect with one another like never before. But it came with a price – it handed a megaphone to everyone, including terrorists, child abusers and hate groups. EU institutions recently reached agreement on the Digital Services Act (DSA), which aims to “make sure that what is illegal offline is dealt with as illegal online”. Continue reading

EU silences Russian state media: a step in the wrong direction – Dirk Voorhoof

Shortly after the Russian military invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the European Union announced a series of sanctions to hit the Putin regime. One of these measures is the blocking in the EU of the Russian state media RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik (link). Also the transmission or facilitation of the programmes or content of RT and Sputnik is banned, while the ban also affects journalistic reporting by European media outlets. Continue reading

A war of words: EU sanctions and the blocking of online ‘disinformation’ – Anya Proops QC

The decision by Western powers to fight the war in Ukraine through swingeing sanctions regimes is widely regarded as a hugely powerful demonstration of the West’s unified commitment to the championing of liberal democratic values, in the face of an amoral totalitarian aggressor. However, an important question which falls to be answered is whether those regimes may ironically also pose a threat to the very values they are seeking to defend, particularly insofar as they operate so as to curb media and online freedoms; free expression of course being one of the cornerstones of any liberal democracy. Continue reading

Pornography platforms, the EU Digital Services Act and Image-Based Sexual Abuse – Clare McGlynn and Lorna Woods

Non-consensual pornography, commonly referred to as image-based sexual abuse, is easily and freely available on pornography websites. Yet, to date, responses to this problem have been partial and fragmented. There is the possibility that this situation will change. Proposals to impose obligations on pornography sites to reduce the extent of this unlawful material have been inserted into the European Parliament’s negotiating position on the Digital Services Act (DSA) as Article 24b. Continue reading

Facebook: latest EU court case shows how Europe is clamping down on big tech

Facebook’s approach to users’ data has just been dealt a major blow from the European court of justice (ECJ). In an answer to a question from Germany’s highest court, the ECJ’s advocate general – whose opinion is not binding but is generally followed by the court – has made an essential clarification to Europe’s data protection law to confirm that consumer associations can bring actions on behalf of individuals. Continue reading

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