Schulz to EURACTIV: “Keep scrutinising us”

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Dear EURACTIV friends, thank you for inviting me to your #Media4EU conference, I am sorry I can’t be with you today.

Our European common media policy praises the defence of our culture and our values through media. Every day, the European Institutions protect the right to be informed, defend the rights of the media, and especially its economic independence, in order to enhance pluralism in Europe. The recent attack against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo reminds us what is at the root of European values and action: the defence of the freedom of the press. It means that institutions, decision-makers and actors have to be scrutinised, analysed, assessed, criticised, and can be mocked to some extent. Politicians don’t always enjoy it, me neither! But it corresponds to the profound nature of our democracy: transparency.

The changes we made, and will make, to allow a major scrutiny of policy-making by the citizens, facilitated by the good and fair work of the press, show our support to an increased transparency of the European Institutions.
The recent events in Paris also remind us that we desperately need an independent press, but also balanced information. New tools, such as data analysis, can definitely contribute to better journalism. But new tools, like old tools, can contribute to sensational, false information, and can irresponsibly trigger feelings of threat.

We will continue to praise balanced, checked information for the European citizens, throughout the technological changes. Here, EURACTIV, friends, keep up the good work, keep scrutinising European affairs for the good of all European citizens.