On Thursday, 8 December 2022, MEP Irena Joveva hosted an interactive debate with students on media freedom (Medijska svoboda? Bo, da!), where they discussed the forthcoming European Media Freedom Act (MFA). Among other things, Joveva believed that this regulation should be shaped as ambitiously as possible.

In addition to the MEP, the debate was attended by Asta Vrečko, Minister of Culture, Lenart J. Kučić, Media Adviser to the Minister, and Marko Milosavljević, professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

In her address, Ms Joveva focused on the developments at the European level, saying that in terms of the European Union’s competences in the media field the Act truly is revolutionary, and that for that reason the Union will have to find solutions that are appropriate for all Member States.

She stressed that certain standards absolutely must be ensured, particularly those of additional, European protection of the media and journalists and their independence. She added that MEPs are often accused of legislating only as dictated by lobbyists, which is why she wants to change this and to hear the voice of young people who will co-shape this area in the future.

Next to speak was Minister Vrečko who highlighted the importance of the forthcoming Act for the Slovenian media landscape. In her view, the Act will boost the Union’s democratic credentials, and Slovenia will contribute constructively to both the formulation of the regulation and its implementation.

Kučić followed up on the Minister’s words and said that the Act will not necessarily solve the main problems in our media space, but will undoubtedly encourage more intensive problem-solving in this area. He added that the political message is clear, as we do not want the European media space to be marred by non-transparent public advertising in the media, misuse of public funds in order to silence journalists or by controlling them.

Milosavljević concluded the opening debate by recalling that Slovenia was one of the countries that were the reason for this Act in the first place. He stressed that we should not forget what happened during the previous government (led by Janez Janša) and that not everything that concerns freedoms can be taken for granted.

The speakers agreed that the Act still needs to be further refined.

The second part of the event was devoted to an interactive workshop for students, who examined the separate thematic components covered by the Act and discussed possible amendments and solutions. This sparked discussions on both the current and the past situation, what could be improved and how. At the end of the thorough examination of the sets of provisions, the students, in groups, presented their interesting and useful proposals to the speakers. More details on this will be published in the coming week.

You can watch the full recording of the speakers’ speeches HERE.

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