Written question to the European Commission

The European news media sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly worrying given the crucial role of these media for society and democracy. In some markets, the economic outlook has reduced advertising by 80%, leading to the collapse of some smaller and local newspapers in particular. Other media outlets were forced into layoffs and pay cuts.

How does the Commission intend to safeguard the diverse and pluralistic news media environment in Europe?

Answer given by Commissioner Thierry Breton on behalf of the European Commission

Recognizing the serious consequences of the coronavirus crisis for the news media sector, the Commission in its Communication on Combating COVID-19 misinformation – what is true and what is not, called on Member States to step up their efforts to ensure the safety of journalists and recognized the news media as an essential service.

The Commission will continue to co-finance independent projects in the fields of journalism, media freedom and pluralism, while proposing a comprehensive recovery plan consisting of a new EU Next Generation Recovery Instrument and a renewed Multiannual Financial Framework.

The news sector can be supported by several instruments from this package, including in particular the Creative Europe program with a dedicated budget under the cross-sectoral strand on media freedom, pluralism and collaborative journalism, the Digital Europe program, the InvestEU program and the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, cohesion policy funds and REACT-EU.

In addition, as part of its short-term response, the Commission, together with the European Investment Fund, has increased the flexibility of the existing guarantee instrument for the cultural and creative sectors to further encourage financial institutions to lend money to the news media. These new support options are available on the market from August 2020 and will be applied retroactively to loans maturing from 1 April 2020.

Finally, by the end of 2020, the Commission will adopt an Action Plan for European Democracy and a dedicated action plan for the media and audiovisual sector, which will include targeted measures to support the news media sector and media freedom and pluralism.

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