Today, civil society and journalists’ organisations have united to support the important role and independence of the newly established European Board for Media Services (the Board), intended to replace the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA). However, this independence could be a double-edged sword if the Board’s competences are not precisely and unequivocally set forth in the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA). Left unchecked, this would open doors to potential misuse of the independence all stakeholders want for the Board.
Therefore, rather than the Board having the ability to decide on the below-mentioned issues, we call for the EMFA itself to include:
- Clear criteria on how to identify threats to editorial independence.
- A definition of media services of general interest, and the criteria, assessment framework and process for determining their scope.
Furthermore, we have concerns regarding the criteria and procedures for selecting members of the proposed Non-Audiovisual Media Expert Group or other expert groups within the Board. Therefore, we urge:
- A balanced representation of media, civil society organisations, and academics.
- A transparent and fair selection procedure.