A strong public service media encourages higher reporting standards, promotes ethical journalism and guards against threats to press freedom.
That’s the view of Thomas Hammarberg, the Commissioner for Human Rights, in an article published today.
The commissioner fears media freedom is being undermined by the attempts of state authorities to dominate the media market and the trend towards commercialisation and monopoly.
“Both these tendencies undermine freedom of expression – and are good reasons for strengthening public service media,” Hammarberg writes.
“Media pluralism is necessary for the development of informed societies where different voices can be heard. However, in several European countries there is little genuine media freedom and therefore limited space for pluralism. Independent television and radio channels are denied licences, and critical newspapers are prevented from buying newsprint or distributing their papers.
“The concentration of media ownership in the private sector is yet another problem. If the mass media are dominated by a few corporations, the risk for bias and interference with editorial independence increases.”
Hammarberg will be in London on 8 December to report on Europe’s changing media landscape.
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