Actor Hugh Grant In Brussels
Posted, June 27, 2012 @ 16:00
by Timothy Kirkhope MEP
Today I have been talking about media freedom across Europe, particularly how media ownership is sometimes concentrated in the hands of a few people or companies.
The debate in the Parliament follows the very intense coverage of the Leveson Inquiry in Britain which has been looking at the way the media operates.
The actor Hugh Grant was here to state his case today as spokesman of the "Hacked Off" Campaign. I organised and chaired a small meeting with him and three other European Parliament MEPs from across the political spectrum to discuss the Parliament's work on Media Freedom and Pluralism.
The discussion dealt with Parliament's critical stance on Italy and Hungary with regard to Media Freedom in recent years, as well as Hugh Grant's involvement in the Leveson Inquiry. Mr Grant would like the support of our Parliament in future regulatory mechanisms which both limit the size of any individual media company and its control of outlets, as well as laying down new rules as to the ethics of journalism and media ownership.
The Parliament's own work is running parallel to the ongoing inquiry in the UK which has examined evidence of many disturbing cases of press invasion of privacy affecting UK citizens. The questions of ownership of the media are proper ones for EU consideration. I hope the Parliament will put forward sensible proposals in due course.
My colleagues and I are already working on a set of recommendations that may require action from the Commission. The Parliament has been debating the Weber report on an EU Charter and standard setting for media freedom across the EU. However, this is an own initiative Report, which means it is non-binding. So far, discussions have looked at press responsibility, media pluralism, and national/EU involvement in press oversight and regulation.
Following our meeting, Mr Grant appeared at the Forum on Media Pluralism, which discussed how the internet has changed the media landscape.
This was how it was advertised on the European parliament site:
The "Pan-European Forum on Media Pluralism and New Media" will take place in the European Parliament hemicycle in Brussels on 27 June 2012, from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The forum brings together politicians, representatives of traditional and new media, academics, NGOs, judges and leaders from the music, film and book industries to debate on the democratic need of media pluralism and the opportunities and risks resulting from new media and technological changes. The event declares itself as not being "yet another conference on the media", but a global dialogue with stimulating speeches from people who do not have entrenched ideas and are capable of saying things that change views.