The AUTHLIB consortium cordially invites you to the online discussion titled
“What Role for the European Media Freedom Act in Central Europe?”
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. CEST / 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. EST
Media freedom and pluralism are cornerstones of a well-functioning democracy, yet the politicization of media and the lack of independence of media regulators in certain member states, as well as the lack of transparency of media ownership and the deteriorating professional conditions for journalists are rising concerns across the European Union. These factors have been particularly worrying in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland in recent years, with market plurality and political independence being at especially high risk in all three countries, according to the Media Pluralism Monitor.To address the growing concerns, in September 2022 the European Commission put forward the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA), the first comprehensive legal framework to promote media pluralism and freedom across the European Union. The proposed legislation contains measures to prevent political interference and surveillance, and to increase the protection of journalistic sources. It aims to ensure adequate funding for public service media and transparency of media ownership. It would also establish an independent European Board of Media Services to support the consistent application of the new EU media law in the member states. Questions remain, however, as to how the proposed act, which is currently under consideration in the European Parliament, would have an impact in rapidly deteriorating environments where governments are often complicit in undermining the freedom and plurality of media. Would it effectively address the challenges independent and public service media face in countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland? How could the planned European Media Freedom Act support the establishment of safeguards for the sector in Central and Eastern Europe? What is the added value of the new framework and what are its blind spots? This event will explore what role the European Media Freedom Act could play in supporting media freedom and pluralism and in countering the systemic assault they face in the most vulnerable EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe.
Konrad Bleyer-Simon, Research Associate, Center for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, European University Institute
Boryana Dzhambazova, Member of the Board, Association of European Journalists Bulgaria
Anna Wójcik, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Polish Academy of Sciences
Zsuzsanna Végh, Visiting Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
More about the speakers
Konrad Bleyer-Simon, PhD pursued doctoral studies at the Human Rights Under Pressure joint program of the Freie Universität Berlin and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University. Prior to working at CMPF, he worked for NGOs and news media in Berlin, Brussels, Bishkek, and Budapest. In his research, he looks at grant funding and other new revenue models for news media.
Boryana Dzhambazova is а member of the Management Board of the Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria, part of the team working on the project “Media Literacy in the Classroom”. She is also a freelance journalist, who started her journalism career in 2005, writing for both Bulgarian and foreign publications. Since then she has covered a wide range of topics – from economic and political developments to social affairs and human rights issues. Her articles appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Business Week, and Fast Company, among others. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Sofia University and a master’s in new media from New York University as a Fulbright scholar.
Anna Wójcik, PhD is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Legal Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and she has co-founded two Rule of Law monitoring projects in Poland – the Wiktor Osiatyński Archive and the “Rule of Law in Poland”. She has conducted research about the European Media Freedom Act in the framework of the Rethink.CEE fellowship of the German Marshall Fund and the Re:Constitution fellowship at the Central European University’s Democracy Institute and Hungarian Helsinki Committee. She writes about the rule of law backsliding in judicial independence and media freedom dimensions and EU responses to it.
Zsuzsanna Végh is a visiting fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Her analytical focus lies on Central and Eastern Europe, especially the foreign and EU policies of the Visegrad countries, the state of democracy, and the role of the populist radical right in the region. Zsuzsanna has extensive experience working at the intersection of policy analysis and academic research. She is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the European University Viadrina where she focuses on Central and Eastern Europe’s radical right and its impact on foreign policy. She has been an associate researcher at the European Council on Foreign Relations and authored reports for Freedom House’s flagship project, Nations in Transit, on her native Hungary. She was a ReThink.CEE Fellow at GMF in 2019-20. Previously, she worked at the Center for European Neighborhood Studies of Central European University. Zsuzsanna holds master’s degrees in international relations and European studies from Central European University and in international studies from the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.