The NMHH agrees that freedom of expression strengthens democratic debate, and that media freedom and diversity are therefore a fundamental pillar of democratic systems. The Authority therefore welcomes the Commission’s initiative and the overall objectives of strengthening media freedom, independence and pluralism.
However, during the public consultation on the EMFA, the NMHH expressed concerns about the legal basis, framework and scope of the proposed regulation, including in the areas of market entry mechanisms, the operation of public service media and state advertising. In the field of media regulations, the EU’s legislative powers cannot be extended indefinitely to cover the entire media system, as this could infringe on the exclusive competences of Member States. In other words, EU action in these cases could infringe the sovereignty of Member States and their legislative powers.
In addition, due to the different cultural traditions, legal systems and media market specificities, the press and media markets in the Member States are also substantially different. For this reason, the greatest possible caution should be exercised in strengthening and supporting operators in the sector at EU level, rather than creating EU rules of general application. This is particularly true for balanced coverage, public media services, state advertising and market access conditions. Therefore, in the view of the NMHH, the role of the European Union in this sector is most relevant for cross-border services.