Which EU law mandates specified ideas are given positive press coverage?
May 4, 2014 4:40 PM   Subscribe

From memory the gist of the law is that a certain portion or percentage of stories in a given time period must promote specified ideas. Those ideas are specified by a European body. The official line is that the law helps to spread important information, by requiring that it is published and broadcast often.

I asked this on Reddit a few days ago but I didn't get the answer. For some people this may sound far fetched, or even ridiculous. This isn't the place to say "I think that's ridiculous" because that doesn't achieve anything.

I can't tell you if this was a statute, a treaty, an act... I only read it once and then lost it. It may have been on the Telegraph's website. The article I read was about something else, but it mentioned this in the first paragraph as a related story and precedent for something more recent.
posted by M4R5 to Law & Government (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think this law exists.
posted by modernnomad at 6:01 PM on May 4, 2014

Anything you read in the Telegraph about the EU is almost certainly misleading. The Euromyths blog from the European Commission in the UK is a handy reference for this kind of story.

EC response to false UK press claims that it is seeking “powers over journalists” seems to be referring to the article you remember.

It refers to this Telegraph article EU pours millions into groups seeking state control of press whose main point appears to be rubbish, but which is referencing a report by a fairly obscure group called Mediadem.

So, not a law, just a comparative study whose general conclusions on "Policy suggestions for a free and independent media" have been blown up by the Torygraph into yet another scare story about EU regulation.
posted by Azara at 6:34 PM on May 4, 2014 [9 favorites]

I'm afraid you seem to be talking about a different thing. The story you link to - the first hit on Google - doesn't seem related to my question.

I agree that the papers are full of rubbish, and I don't believe (or read) a word that Andrew Gilligan writes, but I'm looking for something that I read in order to verify/debunk it. The story I read named a law as I described. It may or may not have been in the Telegraph, but it was a site with a similar layout (content on the left, hyperlinks in blue).
posted by M4R5 at 6:47 AM on May 5, 2014

Could the law you're thinking of be the fact that the UK's public broadcasting watchdog Ofcom requires networks to give equal coverage/time to major parties running for EU seats?

This recently came up when the Euroskeptic UK Independence Party was deemed a major party deserving of equal coverage. Maybe not--just a thought since it has some elements of what you are talking about.
posted by whitewall at 7:00 AM on May 5, 2014

It might be the same law. I might recognise the name if I saw it. I'll call Ofcom tomorrow and ask them. They're sure to know.

The Guardian layout looks just like the page I remember (except that it's a different article).
posted by M4R5 at 7:12 AM on May 5, 2014

Some recent news about EU and the press:

"European Commission supports pilot projects on media freedom."

"This study develops a monitoring tool for assessing risks for media pluralism in the EU Member States and identifying threats to such pluralism based on a set of indicators, covering pertinent legal, economic and socio-cultural considerations."

"The public broadcasting decision in Germany to feature the Europe-wide television debate between European top candidates on a “special interest channel” with little viewers" has been sharply criticised by politicians, experts and tens of thousands of Internet users."

This was on Reddit a few days ago, no mention of "Euro-censors".

"Index on Censorship" has some stories regarding EU/Europe, no mention of any "duty to publish certain stories" here.

Somewhat less recent (from 2011), but still perhaps relevant:
"Hungary's constitutional court has overruled sections of a new media law, claiming it interferes with press freedom. It is the latest challenge to what many see as an undemocratic consolidation of government power. (...) Under the terms of the legislation, media are obliged to provide "balanced coverage," subject to scrutiny by a media authority. Journalists are also obliged to submit names of sources to the authority "if necessary" on grounds of national security.
In its decision on Monday, the court removed the authority's right to scrutinize print and online content. (...) The media law is just one part of a program of measures that opponents of the government have condemned as undemocratic.
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding last week wrote to Budapest expressing her "serious concerns from an EU law perspective" over reforms to the Justice Ministry and the new constitution."

"Equal time" before elections is not a recent idea or invented by the EU:
"The equal-time rule specifies that U.S. radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political candidates who request it. (...) This rule originated in §18 of the Radio Act of 1927; it was later superseded by the Communications Act of 1934. A related provision, in §315(b), requires that broadcasters offer time to candidates at the same rate as their "most favored advertiser"."
posted by iviken at 3:29 AM on May 6, 2014

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