Media freedom and pluralism are vital for democracy, as they enable citizens to gather timely and factual information on governments and the state of the world in general. The media plays a crucial role in ensuring that political actors are held accountable for their actions and that people in positions of power cannot act as they wish without consequences.
In her 2021 State of the Union Address, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed the importance of media freedom for democracy and vowed to protect journalists from attacks on their editorial independence and, increasingly, their lives. To this end, she promised the Commission would deliver a Media Freedom Act in 2022 which would ensure better safeguards to protect journalists, their work, and media freedom. The Commission delivered when it published the EMFA proposal on 16 September 2022.
The European Democracy Action Plan (EDAP) also includes a pledge of the Commission to protect the safety of journalists from threats to life and abusive use of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) and to propose further measures to support media pluralism and to strengthen transparency of media ownership and state advertising.