C4C’s perspective on Article 17 of the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA)

The Coalition for Creativity (C4C) is concerned about the developments around Article 17 in the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA). This provision, initially introduced as an unwarranted media privilege by the European Commission in the EMFA, is turning into a fully-fledged media exemption.

Our take on what policymakers should do: reject Article 17, this provision cannot be salvaged or improved and should hence be deleted

Hence, we are pleased to see that Renew Europe MEPs Monica Semedo (Luxembourg) and Anna Julia Donath (Hungary) tabled an amendment to delete Article 17 EMFA (see AM 967) to the draft EP Culture and Education (CULT) Committee EMFA report by Rapporteur by MEP Sabine Verheyen. They consider Article 17 EMFA should be deleted for numerous reasons, and highlight 3 of them:

  1. equality of freedom of speech
  2. harmonisation of horizontal rules
  3. the issue of media declaration

Check C4C’s video above and infographic below on what’s wrong with Article 17 EMFA.

C4C considers that the DSA and the P2B Regulation suffice and believes that Article 17 raise multiple questions to solve a non-existent problem:

There should be no privilege: (1) for certain actors, as making some actors more important means the speech of others is automatically of less value; (2) for media, as this creates an easily exploitable loophole in the fight against disinformation; (3) for media on VLOPs as this creates a provision resting on the wrong scope at both ends; and (4) as such a privilege is extremely difficult to combine with the multiple other obligations platforms have.

The slippery slope from media privilege to media exemption/must-carry is a path that has already been clearly condemned by EU legislators in the recent DSA debates.

This concern is confirmed by a recent FT op-ed from Anika Collier Navaroli, a practitioner fellow at Stanford University’s Digital Civil Society Lab and a former senior content moderator at Twitter, on how ‘disinformation dangers lurk in the EU’s media freedom act’. She cautions that “the DSA’s attempt to address systemic risks such as disinformation may be undermined before they have a chance to work.”

More resources:

What’s Wrong with Article 17 EMFA – Infographic

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