EP calls for open debate about status of weblogs

The European Parliament adopted a resolution urging the Commission and the Member states to safeguard media pluralism and ensure that all EU citizens can access free and diversified media. To prevent owners, shareholders or governments from interfering with editorial content, MEPs advocate creation of editorial charters. They also encourage an open discussion of the status of weblogs.

The media face radical changes and restructuring due to new technology and global competition. Maintaining media pluralism is crucial for the democratic process in the Member States and in the European Union as a whole, as well as ensuring free access to free media for all EU citizens. These are the main ideas which are behind the resolution the EP has adopted.

The text stresses the need to ensure journalistic and editorial independence and suggest editorial charters to prevent owners, shareholders or outside bodies such as governments from interfering with news content.  To shed light over the aims and background of the broadcasters and publishers, the resolution also encourages the disclosure of ownership of all media outlets. The resolution considers that competition law and media law should be interlinked to avoid conflicts between media ownership concentration and political power

Status of bloggers should be discussed

One of the main issues addressed by this resolution affects the status in the communication landscape of weblogs, often used by both media professionals and private persons. EP encourages an open discussion on all issues relating to the status of weblogs.  On this point the resolution is slightly different from the proposal from the Committee on Culture and Education, that suggested a 'clarification' of the status of weblogs and sites based on user-generated content, assimilating them for legal purposes with any other form of public expression.
During the presentation of the report on September 22nd, Mrs Mikko responded to the concerns of many bloggers: "My entrance into cyberspace has created rapid reaction among a lot of bloggers. I shall make it clear now that nobody is interested in regulating the internet," she said.
MEPs also underline the importance of the protection of copyrights online, insisting that third parties have to mention the source when taking over declarations, call for greater transparency with respect to personal data kept on users by search engines, email providers and social networking sites.