Should freedom of speech come with punishment

The European Parliament,

- based on the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

- having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

- having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR),

- having regard to the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR),

- having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions,

- having regard to the key resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the reports of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Expression and Expression, in particular the report of 23 April 2020 with the Title "Disease pandemics and the freedom of opinion and expression" (pandemics, freedom of expression and freedom of expression),

- having regard to the joint declaration of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Expression and Expression, the Agency for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in charge of Freedom of the Media, the Special Rapporteur for the Organization of American States (OAS) on freedom of expression and the Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human Rights and Peoples 'Rights (ACHPR) on freedom of expression and access to information dated March 3, 2017 entitled' Freedom of expression and 'Fake News' , Disinformation and Propaganda "(freedom of expression and" fake news ", disinformation and propaganda),

- having regard to the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and Impunity,

- having regard to General Comment No. 34 of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (IPCPR) (freedom of expression and expression),

- having regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the commitments contained therein, which include promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development by, inter alia, ensuring public access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms,

- having regard to the work done by the Council of Europe to promote the protection and safety of journalists, including Recommendation CM / Rec (2018) 1 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on media pluralism and transparency with regard to media ownership and the declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the financial sustainability of high-quality journalism in the digital age, Recommendation CM / Rec (2016) 4 of the Committee of Ministers to the member states on the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists and other media actors and its 2020 annual report entitled "Hands off Press Freedom: Attacks on media in Europe must not become a new normal "(hands off freedom of the press: attacks on the media in Europe must by no means become a new normal),

- having regard to resolution 2300 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 1 October 2019 on improving the protection of whistleblowers across Europe,

- having regard to the joint communication of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 10 June 2020 entitled "Combating disinformation in connection with COVID-19 - Facts not fiction" (JOIN (2020) 0008) ,

- having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 29 January 2020 containing the Commission Work Program for 2020 (COM (2020) 0027),

- having regard to the Commission communication of 17 July 2019 on Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Union: A Map of the Way Forward (COM (2019) 0343),

- having regard to the Commission's Strategy for Gender Equality 2020-2025,

- having regard to the communication from the Commission of 26 April 2018 on "Tackling disinformation on the internet: a European approach" (COM (2018) 0236),

- having regard to the Commission's Code of Conduct on tackling disinformation on the Internet, agreed on 26 September 2018,

- having regard to the Commission Recommendation of 1 March 2018 on effective measures to deal with illegal online content (C (2018) 1177),

- having regard to the Commission's Action Plan of 5 December 2018 to combat disinformation,

- having regard to the Code of Conduct published by the Commission in May 2016 on combating illegal hate speech on the Internet and the document resulting from its fourth evaluation entitled “Factsheet - 4th monitoring round of the Code of Conduct” Code of conduct),

- having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report violations of Union law (1),

- having regard to Directive 2010/13 / EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive, AVMS Directive) (2) and Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 amending Directive 2010/13 / EU (3),

- having regard to the 2020 report of the Group of European Regulators for Audiovisual Media Services entitled "Disinformation: Assessment of the implementation of the Code of Practice",

- having regard to the Council conclusions of 25 May 2020 on media literacy in an ever changing world,

- having regard to the Council Conclusions of 14 November 2018 on strengthening European content for the digital economy, in which the importance of content created by the media 'as well as other sectors of the cultural and creative industries' as' pillars the social and economic development of Europe "are recognized,

- having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/913 / JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia through criminal law (4),

- having regard to the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression - online and offline, adopted on May 12, 2014, which recognize artistic freedom, alongside freedom of the media, as an integral part of freedom of expression,

- having regard to the updated special report of the EEAS dated April 24, 2020 with the title "Short Assessment of Narratives and Disinformation around the COVID-19 / Coronavirus Pandemic" ),

- having regard to the work of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights,

- having regard to the press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders and the results of the Media Pluralism Monitor of the Center for Media Pluralism and Freedom at the European University Institute;

- having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on coordinated EU action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, (5)

- having regard to its resolution of 9 January 2020 on the ongoing hearings under Article 7 (1) TEU on Poland and Hungary (6),

- having regard to its resolution of 18 December 2019 on public discrimination and agitation against LGBTI people and LGBTI-free zones (7),

- having regard to its resolution of 18 December 2019 on the rule of law in Malta following the recent revelations relating to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia (8),

- having regard to its resolution of 28 November 2019 on EU accession to the Istanbul Convention and further action to combat gender-based violence (9),

- having regard to the resolution of the European Parliament of 10 October 2019 on foreign interference in elections and disinformation in the democratic processes of the Member States and Europe (10),

- having regard to its resolution of 19 September 2019 on the importance of European historical awareness for the future of Europe (11),

- having regard to its resolution of 28 March 2019 on the rule of law and the fight against corruption in the EU, in particular in Malta and Slovakia (12),

- having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017 (13),

- having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2018 on gender equality in the EU media sector (14),

- having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2018 on measures to prevent and combat bullying and sexual harassment at work, in public spaces and in political life in the EU (15),

- having regard to its resolution of 14 November 2018 on the need for a comprehensive EU mechanism to protect democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (16),

- having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2018 on Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook user data and the impact on data protection (17),

- having regard to its resolution of 3 May 2018 on freedom and pluralism of the media in the European Union (18),

- having regard to its resolution of 19 April 2018 on the protection of investigative journalists in Europe: the case of the Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová (19),

- having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2017 on the 2017 Citizenship Report: Strengthening Citizens' Rights in a Union of Democratic Change (20),

- having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime (21),

- having regard to its resolution of 15 June 2017 on online platforms in the digital single market (22),

- having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2017 on the impact of bulk data on fundamental rights: privacy, data protection, non-discrimination, security and law enforcement (23),

- having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2017 on the rule of law in Malta (24),

- having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2016 with recommendations to the Commission on the establishment of an EU mechanism for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (25),

- having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2013 on organized crime, corruption and money laundering: recommended actions and initiatives (26),

- having regard to the study by the European Parliament's Civil Rights and Constitutional Affairs Department of 28 February 2019 entitled "Disinformation and Propaganda - Impact on the functioning of the rule of law in the EU and its Member States",

- having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A9-0205 / 2020),

A. whereas freedom, pluralism and independence of the media and the safety of journalists are essential elements of the right to freedom of expression and information and are essential for the democratic functioning of the EU and its Member States; whereas one of the main democratic roles of the media is to increase transparency and democratic accountability; whereas the media are essential in democratic societies as they make grievances public, while helping to inform citizens and empower them by expanding their understanding of the current political and social landscape and their consciousness Promote participation in democratic life;

B. whereas the crisis has shown the vital role journalists play in providing citizens with reliable and verified information; whereas, therefore, more needs to be done to ensure safe and decent working conditions for journalists; whereas investigative journalism should be given special attention in the context of combating corruption and maladministration in the EU;

C. whereas some Member States restrict media freedom in economic ways, e.g. B. through competition-changing unequal distribution of public advertising to media companies, and exercising direct control over public media to influence editorial decisions and thus ensure loyalty to the government; whereas the authorities should adopt a legal and regulatory framework that encourages the development of free, independent and pluralistic media;

D. whereas all Member States must respect the values ​​set out in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union;

E. whereas media absorption, a lack of institutional transparency, agitation and disinformation are increasingly being used for political purposes as instruments to exacerbate polarization; whereas addressing these phenomena is important not only in the area of ​​human rights, but is also an essential factor in defending the rule of law and democracy in the EU;

F. whereas the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the 2020 Press Freedom Ranking, has highlighted and exacerbated many other crises that threaten the right to free, independent, diverse and reliable information; whereas the ranking has revealed significant differences between Member States, some of which are among the top ranked countries in the world, while others are further down the list, with the gap between the top and worst ranked Member States exceeding 100 places is; whereas several Member States have lost places in international press freedom rankings;

G. whereas freedom of the media has deteriorated in recent years and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this development, but also emphasized the importance of the media and the right of access to reliable information;

H. whereas the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019 shows that trust in the news in general (globally) has fallen by two percentage points from 2018 to 42% and less than half of respondents (49%) believe Trusts news media that she uses herself; whereas news found on search engines (33%) and on social media (23%) remains extremely untrustworthy;

I. whereas transparency about media ownership is a prerequisite for media pluralism and independent journalism;

J. whereas journalists and other media actors in the EU are still exposed to violence, threats, harassment, pressure, (self) censorship and public denunciation or even murdered as a result of their activities to protect the public interest; whereas intimidation of journalists has increased in recent years, aimed at silencing them and therefore urgent action is needed to ensure that the independent media can continue to make an important contribution to upholding the rule of law; whereas the killings of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak are two extremely tragic examples of the extent to which investigative journalists are targeted when they uncover corruption in order to protect democracy and the rule of law;

K.whereas threats to media freedom include harassing and attacking journalists, disregarding their legal protections, and media appropriation and politically motivated actions in the media industry;

L. whereas female journalists dealing with gender-based forms of violence, e.g. B. Sexual harassment or harassment on the Internet, are confronted; whereas more than 70% of women employed in the media industry have experienced more than one type of harassment, threat or attack online; whereas in the past year alone 52% of women have experienced this type of attack; whereas online harassment and abuse are often highly sexualized and related not to the victims' work but to their physical characteristics, cultural background or private life; whereas such threats lead to self-censorship by women journalists and have a crippling effect on freedom of the press and freedom of expression; whereas research consistently shows that women are in the minority in all media sectors, particularly in creative functions, and that they are severely underrepresented at higher levels of decision-making (27);

M. whereas Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) is a common practice in several Member States to frighten journalists and deter them from pursuing corruption and other matters of public interest to investigate;

N. whereas journalists are not only subjected to violence, intimidation and harassment, the perpetrators are not prosecuted and this impunity is crippling; whereas the OSCE, inter alia, Given that less than 15% of the killings of journalists in the OSCE region are solved, points out that impunity prevails;

O. whereas the right of journalists to report and investigate needs to be further strengthened and effectively protected;

P. whereas strengthening media freedom requires reliable and detailed information on the scope and nature of the challenges faced by individual Member States and the European Union as a whole, including cases where the principles of independence the media or the fundamental rights of journalists have been violated;

Q. whereas artistic freedom is an integral part of the fundamental right to freedom of expression and is essential to Europe's cultural diversity and democratic well-being; whereas attacks on artistic freedom are rampant but invisible;

R. whereas the global COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating social and economic impact on the media industry; whereas media companies report significant losses in their advertising revenues; whereas thousands of media professionals have lost their jobs, temporarily or permanently, or are at risk of losing them; whereas freelance journalists, which are growing in number and already represent a significant proportion of all journalists and media professionals in Europe, are particularly hard hit by this situation; whereas this runs the serious risk of increasing the concentration of information in the hands of a few and preventing the diffusion of free and independent information; whereas the financial sustainability of jobs and financial independence are crucial elements of freedom of the press;

S. whereas digital advertising revenues often benefit actors outside the EU and European media revenues are falling sharply, threatening the future of traditional advertising-financed media companies such as commercial TV stations, newspapers and magazines;

T. whereas in some Member States state aid to media companies is not managed transparently, which seriously undermines their independence and credibility;

U. whereas the business model of the social media platforms, which is based on personalized advertising by means of microtargeting, contributes to the spread and intensification of hate speech, among other things through the dissemination of illegal content, thus encouraging discrimination and violence and promoting radicalization, which in turn leads to violent extremism; whereas tackling all forms of intolerance is an essential part of protecting human rights, as has been the case law of the European Court of Human Rights;

V. whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the stigmatization of certain particularly vulnerable people, including through the media, which has exacerbated the polarization of European society and the spread of hate speech;

W. whereas cyber violence (including internet hate speech, cyberstalking, and online harassment) is becoming increasingly widespread; whereas women in public positions - including politicians, journalists and activists advocating women's rights and the rights of sexual minorities - are currently becoming a major target of cyberbullying and online violence;

X. whereas the AVMS Directive requires authorities in all Member States to ensure that audiovisual media services and video-sharing platforms take measures to protect the general public from programs, user-generated videos and audiovisual commercial communications that incite violence or hatred against a group of persons or members of a group for the reasons set out in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; whereas the AVMS Directive obliges Member States to ensure the independence of media regulators;

Y. whereas the spread of misinformation and disinformation and disproportionate measures to combat them on digital platforms jeopardize freedom of information, democratic discourse and media independence and make high-quality traditional media even more indispensable; whereas data analysis and algorithms have an increasing impact on the information made available to citizens;

Z. whereas the proliferation of news from a variety of sources that are difficult to verify, as well as the steadily increasing importance of social media and communication platforms are having a negative impact on the fundamental rights of EU citizens; whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the impact of disinformation on the internet, which can have serious public health consequences, and the pandemic has made it even more apparent that access to free and independent information is being ensured must if the fundamental rights of citizens are to be protected; whereas the lack of a coordinated communication strategy at EU level has fueled the wave of pandemic-related disinformation, particularly through social media and communication platforms;


FROM. whereas genuinely independent, adequately funded public service media, operating through different platforms, are central to a functioning democracy in the EU;

Media freedom, media pluralism and the protection of journalists in Europe

1. Reiterates its continuing deep concern about the situation of media freedom in the EU, given the continued abuse and abuse of journalists and media professionals in some Member States as a result of their work, and the growing public vilification of the profession and generally loses reputation, which is particularly bad for local, investigative and cross-border journalism; Stresses that, in accordance with the Council of Europe Recommendation of 7 March 2018 on media pluralism and transparency with regard to media ownership, Member States have a positive obligation to promote, offline and online, an environment conducive to freedom of expression in which everyone can exercise their right to freedom of expression and calls on the Member States to fully support and accept the recommendation;

2. Is deeply shocked by the murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta and of Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová in Slovakia for their investigative work to uncover cases of corruption and other crimes, and affirms that an independent investigation is being carried out must to bring the perpetrators and masterminds behind these crimes to justice; calls on national law enforcement authorities to cooperate fully with Europol and other relevant international organizations;

3. Deplores the fact that journalists and media professionals often work in precarious conditions, which affects their ability to carry out their work properly and thus affects media freedom; Stresses that decent working conditions for journalists and media professionals are essential in order to promote quality journalism; Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote viable measures to finance and support high quality and independent journalism;

4. Recalls that investigative journalism plays a crucial role in the fight against organized crime by gathering and linking relevant information in order to detect criminal networks and illegal activities; Stresses that investigative journalists are exposed to increased personal risk as a result of these activities;

5. Emphasizes that investigative journalists play a crucial role in holding decision-makers accountable and exercising their role as guardians of democracy and the rule of law;



8. Recalls the resolution 2255 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 23




12.Calls on the Member States to fully comply with the Council of Europe's recommendation on the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists and other media actors and, as soon as possible, with Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of persons who Report violations of Union law, implement them in their national legislation, as this sets common minimum standards for a high level of protection for whistleblowers; Stresses that whistleblowing is essential to investigative journalism and freedom of the press;

13. Condemns the use of strategic public involvement lawsuits to silence or intimidate investigative journalists and to create a climate of fear around their coverage of certain subjects; urges the Commission again to come up with a comprehensive legislative proposal aimed at establishing minimum standards across the EU to combat strategic actions against public participation;

14. Recalls the final recommendations of the Special Committee against Organized Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering (CRIM), set out in its resolution of 23 October 2013 on organized crime, corruption and money laundering, that laws on defamation and defamation prevent possible reports of corruption; Reiterates its call on all Member States to decriminalize defamation and defamation in their legal systems at least in cases involving allegations of organized crime, corruption and money laundering in the Member States and in third countries;

15. Calls on the Commission to set up an EU-wide hotline as a rapid reaction mechanism for journalists seeking protection and to ensure that their situation is given due attention;


17. Regrets that in some Member States the media regulators are under the influence of the government and treat media channels critical of the government unequally;

18. Is concerned about attempts to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to penalize independent and critical media, limit media access to, and control of, government decisions and activities by the media and mechanisms to promote the transparency of institutions by adopting exemptions, suppressing or weakening them in such a way that a proper and informed exchange of these activities is hindered; Stresses that journalism and the free flow of information are essential to the EU's efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic; Recalls that journalism has a vital role to play even in public health crises; calls on the Commission to closely monitor such practices by national governments and to include the results in its annual rule of law reports;

19.Calls on the Commission and the Member States to urgently introduce emergency build-up packages at EU and Member State level in order to protect the jobs and livelihoods of journalists and media professionals and companies and public service media services within the framework of the economic recovery plan after COVID-19 without restrictions Support compliance with EU competition law; Emphasizes that certain media channels and especially local media platforms are estimated to have lost up to 80% during the COVID-19 crisis due to the declining advertising business (28)

20. Reiterates, in this context, its call for an ambitious EU media action plan to encourage the development of a dynamic and pluralistic media landscape;

21. Calls for an ambitious MFF with higher budget allocations to support the media and independent journalism, particularly investigative journalism; Stresses the importance of innovation in journalism and the news media and that these could be promoted through EU funding; notes pending concern that the Commission's revised budget proposal aims to reduce appropriations for the Creative Europe program and the Justice, Rights and Values ​​program;

22. Welcomes the allocation of EU funds to enable the launch of new projects to strengthen media freedom and pluralism, e.g. B. the Europe-wide Rapid Reaction Mechanism for Violations of Press and Media Freedom and the Fund for Cross-Border Investigative Journalism;

23. Stresses the importance of the media in promoting gender equality and combating discrimination; Urges the Commission and the Member States to take active measures to promote gender equality in the media, so that more women can move into creative and managerial positions, which the media could help to reduce gender stereotypes;


24. Condemns all kinds of hate crimes, hate speech and baseless or bad faith allegations (29), offline as well as online, on grounds of discrimination based on sex, race, skin color, ethnic or social origin, genetic traits, language, the Religion or belief, political or other beliefs, belonging to a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation occurring in the EU and elsewhere; Expresses concern at the hate crimes and incitement to discrimination or violence that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and which have stigmatized some particularly vulnerable people;


26. Reiterates its call on the Member States to take and enforce further measures to prevent and condemn hate speech and hate crime, to counteract these phenomena, to tackle the spread of hate speech and violence offline and online and, for example, to ensure that law enforcement authorities Establish effective methods of recording hate speech based on the principles endorsed by the EU High Level Group on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Intolerance.

27Stresses that online hate speech has become more widespread in recent years as individuals and disruptive actors use the power of online platforms to disseminate inflammatory information; Stresses that this is detrimental to the common good, as harmful content undermines respectful public debates, and that public safety is at risk as online hate speech can lead to violence in the real world;

28. Points out that the legal framework for combating hate speech and discrimination should be strengthened; in this context reiterates its call for the negotiations on the horizontal anti-discrimination directive not to be blocked any longer;

29. Calls again on the Commission and the Member States to take steps to increase the safety of women in public spaces and on the internet, to tackle new forms of gender-based violence such as cyberstalking and online harassment, and to put in place comprehensive support mechanisms Victims of these forms of violence are introduced;

30. Reiterates its call on the Commission and the Council to bring into force the bridging clause provided for in Article 83 (1) TFEU so that violence against women and girls and other forms of gender-based violence (including cyber-violence) are included in the list of the EU recognized crimes can be included;

31. Takes note of the code of conduct promoted by the Commission to combat illegal hate speech on the Internet and its fifth evaluation, according to which IT companies remove an average of 71% of the posts reported to them that contain illegal hate speech; Recalls that journalists and civil society organizations should be involved in evaluations and revisions of the Code of Conduct and that IT companies to which the Code of Conduct applies only review requests for post removal for compliance with their Terms of Use and Community Guidelines ; Stresses that private companies have a great deal of discretion when it comes to determining what content is illegal; calls on all companies operating social media platforms to subscribe to the code of conduct;

32. Points out that Member States must ensure, by all appropriate means, that the media, including online media, social media and advertising, are free from any incitement to violence or hatred against any person or group of people, there this can have a direct impact on the participation of these individuals in civil society; Reiterates its call on the Commission, Member States and social media businesses to work with relevant civil society organizations to counter the spread of racism, xenophobia, LGBTI hostility and religious hatred on the internet; Calls on the Member States and the Commission to collect more reliable data on the extent of hate crime and hate speech;

33. Is concerned that victims are unlikely to report hate crimes because of inadequate protection and the inability of Member States' authorities to properly investigate and end impunity for hate crimes; Calls on the Member States to develop and disseminate tools and mechanisms for reporting hate crime and hate speech and to ensure that every case of suspected hate crime and hate speech is investigated, prosecuted and brought to justice;

Disinformation and the role of platforms




37. Points out that various forms of misinformation, disinformation and other forms of information manipulation, including those in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, continue to spread around the world, are often directed against the most vulnerable communities and can affect public safety, health and effective crisis management; Considers that such disinformation campaigns aim to weaken the democratic process and the citizens' trust in the democratic institutions of the Member States; welcomes the joint communication of 10.

38. Condemns conspiracy theories and publicly funded disinformation campaigns that discredit the EU and mislead the public about its aims and activities; Calls on the Commission to openly condemn and expose the lies and disinformation about the EU spread by public authorities and to publish and disseminate a factual response in order to inform citizens;

39. Welcomes the Commission's initiative to present a European Action Plan for Democracy aimed at tackling disinformation, responding to changing threats and manipulation and supporting free and independent media; stresses, in this regard, that the protection of the right to freedom of expression, including the free, independent and financially viable media, artistic freedom, the content of fundamental rights and democratic debate, is a fundamental factor in tackling hate speech and disinformation is the defense of the rule of law and democracy in the EU; Notes with concern that, according to a study by the GDI (Global Disinformation Index), websites in the EU that spread disinformation generate advertising revenues of over EUR 70 million a year; Emphasizes the potential adverse effects of business models based on personalized advertising using microtargeting; confirms that in the General Data Protection Regulation (30)

40. welcomes the launch of the European Digital Media Observatory project, which will expand the available scientific knowledge in the field of disinformation on the Internet, promote the development of an EU market for authenticity verification services and the establishment of a cross-border one and support a multidisciplinary community made up of fact-checkers and scientists who work with stakeholders to identify, analyze and disclose potential threats to disinformation, including regarding COVID-19;

41. Reminds the Commission, the Member States, the private sector, especially online platforms, and civil society as a whole that tackling disinformation requires joint action; Stresses that online platforms should play a crucial role in identifying and addressing disinformation; Draws attention to the promising and necessary but still insufficient effects of the voluntary actions of some service providers and platforms to combat disinformation, illegal content and foreign influence in electoral processes in the EU; stresses, however, that online platforms are not yet adequately meeting their responsibilities to address these immediate threats;

42. Stresses that the effectiveness of the measures taken by online platforms to combat disinformation can only be assessed if they are carried out in a fully transparent manner and if relevant data are passed on; urges the Commission, therefore, to evaluate all possible measures to oblige online platforms to act effectively, transparently and accountably against the spread of disinformation and to disseminate the relevant data accordingly; Urges the Commission to consider sanctions against online platforms that fail to comply; expects this to be reflected in the European Action Plan for Democracy and the Digital Services Act;


44. Considers that the EU code of conduct in the area of ​​disinformation could be strengthened by improving the monitoring of existing obligations, providing online platforms with transparent and disaggregated information and data and broadening the corresponding obligations; Believes that common regulation that takes into account current developments in the digital world on an ongoing basis could be an appropriate course of action for the future;

45. Calls on social media and online platforms companies to explore ways to provide tools that users can use to report and flag potential disinformation for prompt rectification and scrutiny by independent and impartial outside fact-checking organizations enable, but at the same time prevent misuse of these tools; Stresses that online platforms should work with the Member States and the EU institutions to facilitate the assessment of disinformation and foreign influence and the identification of their perpetrators;

Media literacy

46.B. through awareness-raising campaigns about rights and potential risks in the digital domain; Stresses the need to develop a comprehensive EU media literacy strategy and calls on the Commission to step up its efforts in this regard; Stresses the central role that civil society organizations play in promoting media literacy and preventing the spread of hate speech; Recalls that programs that pursue strategies that are considered effective in combating hate crime and hate speech put a strong emphasis on cooperation, communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, mediation and awareness of prejudice;

47. Calls on the Commission to do more to encourage more Union funding to go to media literacy programs and to take an active part in promoting reliable, fact-based and fact-checked information by improving media dissemination channels and thus access to that information; Calls on the Member States to fully implement the provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which makes it their responsibility to promote and develop media literacy;

48. Encourages the Commission to promote complementary education programs in all Member States, not only in media literacy but also in broader civic education, including teaching democratic values ​​and human rights, in order to raise awareness of disinformation and to achieve propaganda;

49. Stresses that local media structures and community media organizations are essential structures for promoting, producing and disseminating information and facts about local and minority arts and cultural events; Believes that they are an important tool for maintaining media pluralism and a multicultural environment in Europe; Believes that local media structures should also be involved as stakeholders in EU programs aimed at promoting journalism and media literacy, and calls on the Member States to provide them with adequate support while ensuring that they carry out their educational role and perform a cultural function;

50. Calls on the EU institutions to actively step up their communication efforts in all official languages ​​in the event of major emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to ensure that EU citizens have access to accurate, user-friendly and verified information;

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51. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 305 of 26.11.2019, p. 17.
(2) OJ L 95 of 15.4.2010, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 303, 28.11.2018, p. 69.
(4) OJ L 328 of 6 December 2008, p. 55.
(5) Texts adopted, P9_TA (2020) 0054.
(6) Texts adopted, P9_TA (2020) 0014.
(7) Texts adopted, P9_TA (2019) 0101.
(8) Texts adopted, P9_TA (2019) 0103.
(9) Texts adopted, P9_TA (2019) 0080.
(10) Texts adopted, P9_TA (2019) 0031.
(11) Texts adopted, P9_TA (2019) 0021.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA (2019) 0328.
(13) Texts adopted, P8_TA (2019) 0032.
(14) OJ C 390, 18.11.2019, p. 19.
(15) OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 31.
(16) OJ C 238, 6.7.2018, p. 57.
(17) OJ C 324, 27.9.2019, p. 392.
(18) OJ C 41, 6.2.2020, p. 64.
(19) OJ C 390, 18.11.2019, p. 111.
(20) OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 11.
(21) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 29.
(22) OJ C 331, 18.9.2018, p. 135.
(23) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 82.
(24) OJ C 356, 4.10.2018, p. 5.
(25) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 162.
(26) OJ C 208, 10.6.2016, p. 89.
(27) International Women’s Media Foundation, Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media, 2011.
(28) See The Economist: "The newspaper industry is taking a battering", April 18, 2020, and News Media Europe: "COVID-19 and the news media: journalism always comes at a cost" (COVID- 19 and the news media: journalism always has its price), March 24, 2020.
(29) Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 23 April 1992, application no. 11798/85, para. 46.
(30) Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 27, 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data, on the free movement of data and repealing Directive 95/46 / EC (OJ L 119 of 4.5.2016 , P. 1).