EU: Let’s regulate journalists

posted at 9:01 am on January 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

You know what would really improve the quality of journalism, at least in the opinion of the EU?  Give bureaucrats the power to fire reporters for, er,abuses. The European Union scolded the UK for not establishing a government “council” to oversee its media industry, and called for “councils” in every member state with the power to fire reporters that they deem outside the pale:

A “high level” EU panel, that includes Latvia’s former president and a former German justice minister, was ordered by Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president, last year to report on “media freedom and pluralism”. It has concluded that it is time to introduce new rules to rein in the press.

“All EU countries should have independent media councils,” the report concluded.

“Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status.”

And don’t fall under the misapprehension that these “media councils” will operate independently, either.  They will be under the jurisdiction of Brussels at all times:

As well as setting up state regulators with draconian powers, the panel also recommended that the European Commission be placed in overall control in order to ensure that the new watchdogs do not breach EU laws.

“The national media councils should follow a set of European-wide standards and be monitored by the Commission to ensure that they comply with European values,” the report said.

One must suspect that “European values” mean “not reporting anything that makes the EU look like a liberty-phobic micromanagers.”  Bruno Waterfield would be the first to have his license to write revoked under those “values.”  Speaking of liberty-phobic, the EU’s panel didn’t much care for David Cameron’s rejection of the idea that government should approve the news:

“The gross abuses revealed in the Leveson enquiry have led its author to propose much more stringent institutional supervision, where the media would be much more closely monitored,” the report said.

“That judge Leveson’s recommendations should have been rejected out of hand by some politicians in high office, is not very reassuring.”

Perhaps not to the EU, but I’d bet that a significant number of Brits found it reassuring indeed.

Speaking of whom, does Brussels really believe that this effort will make the UK more likely to move closer to integration? This is a big red flag for Cameron and the UK, and it should be for all member states.  If newspapers have to worry about falling afoul of apparatchiks in Brussels every time they report on a story — especially in politics — then whose interest will their national media industries serve?  Not their own national interest, and not their readers’ interests, either, and most certainly not truth, either.  They will be forced to serve “European values” as defined by the central “media council” of the continental government.

Addendum: Perhaps this will make the blogging industry even more influential in the EU, but don’t be surprised when “media councils” turn their attention there, too.


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Well, we just KNOW that will never happen here, considering the liberals already have the media pretty well nestled in their back pocket.

pilamaye on January 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Heh….hahaha “yeah” if you like your intellectual freedom you can….

hahaha coming soon to an America near you….

hahahaha and the liberals are relying on Ogabe to “stop this” at the UN if it ever comes to a vote.

harlekwin15 on January 22, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Winston Smith! Paging Winston Smith! Please pick up the red courtesy phone.

Odysseus on January 22, 2013 at 9:06 AM

“Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status.”

Getting your free ObamaPhone and EBT cards has less risk..

Why be a journalist..?

Be nothing…
It’s free.

Electrongod on January 22, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Here’s a better idea with no need for media oversight councils: Pass laws making hacking into people’s phones, without a warrant, a crime. And make sure the laws apply to everyone — no MSM get out of jail free cards.

Blake on January 22, 2013 at 9:07 AM

And don’t fall under the misapprehension that these “media councils” will operate independently, either. They will be under the jurisdiction of Brussels at all times:

But will the Ministry of Truth retain some autonomy here, or will the Free Speech Councils fall under the Ministry of Love?

forest on January 22, 2013 at 9:07 AM

…so?…they suppress all conservative media now…just make it official!

KOOLAID2 on January 22, 2013 at 9:09 AM

time for another Czar?

KOOLAID2 on January 22, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Back to The Dark Ages. Different enforcers – same result.

OldEnglish on January 22, 2013 at 9:11 AM

A free press isn’t desired in the muslim world.

Flange on January 22, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Oh, the Levenson inquiry was about the MSM hacking into celebrities phones and even the phone of a young murdered teen, which gave her parents & the police the false hope that she was still alive. It also involved the bribing of public officials.

All of this can be remedied without oversight councils. This is so silly.

Blake on January 22, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Wow.

An entire continent of free nations pissing away their rights without so much as a feeble struggle.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Tolerant liberals and progressives are a very intolerant lot.

Ever since the EU became the official arbiter of anything Euro…well, things have not improved much at all. Except for the publishers and printers who have to print thousands of copies of the millions of regulations established by the Euro Council, not much of any other industry has gotten a bit of good out of the entire arrangement.

More and more Europeans are finally realizing that liberal and progressive policies are a major barrier to individual freedom.

Wish more folks here in the States would come to that same conclusion.

coldwarrior on January 22, 2013 at 9:20 AM

I just want to remind people that the relationships in Europe are not the same as here, they vary widely, except we know the journalism is liberal.

An interesting contrast to the US, would be that journalists there often are criticizing nationalized things like utilities or banks. Sometimes people from these places mistake private companies in the US for nationalized interests. US AIR. Not a nationalized company. Bank of America. Ahem, not a nationalized company. When Europeans are criticizing some of the banks and some of the Global antipathy to money/banking/investments, these companies are quasi government entities, and the relationship is different than here. Remember how we feel when GM gets free money/loans, it skews our thinking, makes us confused about the stocks, the union contracts…etc.

In Europe the universities are mostly run by state governments. When a government gives you a grant and pays your bills, do you produce a study that brings profit to the government? If your study results in the ability to levy taxes to fix something…like a carbon tax?

For years I have seen that Oxford University Press has churned out tomes that had nothing to do with anything in the US, not social studies, not media studies, or church/state for that matter. However, that said, the current administration seems to favor most that kind of Euro-thinking. But the MSM journalists here are currently in their pocket, but not quite Nationalized.

I am just saying this to invite others who know more about this to contribute, Americans cannot read this article and try to relate it to how it is here. Right now Glenn Beck could buy abc/cbs/nbc if he was rich enough, and fire all the Clinton Administration hacks. It is our FCC meddling in politics in this country that is our problem

Fleuries on January 22, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Finally some common sense regulations on high capacity journalists! I mean, you don’t need 30 journalists to kill a story!

Bad as things are here, thank god I am not over there…

Gatsu on January 22, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Wow.

An entire continent of free nations pissing away their rights without so much as a feeble struggle.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I dunno why you find this so amazing, Bish. We’re an entire nation of 50 subsidiary sovereign states that pissed away their rights at the ballot box over the last century. It happens.

gryphon202 on January 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Addendum: Perhaps this will make the blogging industry even more influential in the EU, but don’t be surprised when “media councils” turn their attention there, too.

I’m assuming this proposal doesn’t consider bloggers to be journalists at all, and therefore have no inherent right to report or comment on anything that doesn’t comport with “EU values.”

“Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status.”

I take that as meaning there would be some sort of licensing regime that could revoke the right privilege of speaking in the public arena.

RadClown on January 22, 2013 at 9:24 AM

things have come a long way since Mel Gibson led the serfs to freedom

Slade73 on January 22, 2013 at 9:25 AM

One of the reasons the 2nd Amendment was established. Our Founders were some pretty smart dudes.

a capella on January 22, 2013 at 9:25 AM

More and more Europeans are finally realizing that liberal and progressive policies are a major barrier to individual freedom.

Wish more folks here in the States would come to that same conclusion.

coldwarrior on January 22, 2013 at 9:20 AM

They will. When it’s too late.

Washington Nearsider on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM

I personally have learned to avoid, poison ivy, HIV, drugs, and journalists as I hate vermin and other things that contaminate one’s being.

Don L on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM

I dunno why you find this so amazing, Bish. We’re an entire nation of 50 subsidiary sovereign states that pissed away their rights at the ballot box over the last century. It happens.

gryphon202 on January 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

It just seems to happen so quickly over there; one day they have a freedom and the next day it’s gone with the stroke of a pen.

But yeah, we’re on a slow motion train to hell ourselves, maybe our kids will have the seeds to take it all back.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM

In the U.S., the Media self regulates…

voiceofreason on January 22, 2013 at 9:27 AM

But yeah, we’re on a slow motion train to hell ourselves, maybe our kids will have the seeds to take it all back.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM

That train’s speeding up. A lot. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.

gryphon202 on January 22, 2013 at 9:29 AM

maybe our kids will have the seeds to take it all back.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Those same kids who are – for the first 18 years of their lives – indoctrinated by crazy liberal teachers?

Washington Nearsider on January 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Hey, anyone, what flick is that screen cap from? I recognize the B-level actress but I don’t recognize the movie, I just remember always loathing the woman for some reason, the same way I loathed the girl from the original “True Grit”.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Those same kids who are – for the first 18 years of their lives – indoctrinated by crazy liberal teachers?

Washington Nearsider on January 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Believe it or not my kids don’t suffer from that here in this little red pocket of blue Minnesota; the local schools are far from liberal.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Animal House?

Washington Nearsider on January 22, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Believe it or not my kids don’t suffer from that here in this little red pocket of blue Minnesota; the local schools are far from liberal.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:33 AM

You’re from Minnesota, Bish?! Damn man, we should get together and have a beer sometime! :)

gryphon202 on January 22, 2013 at 9:34 AM

The only regulation media need involves a legal bar from immediate employment in government. And that’s an ethics thing, not directly regarding their content.

If employees of news orgs cannot seek employment from government without something like a five-year diversion with a company not responsible for reporting news, they won’t see elected officials as potential future employers, and slant their coverage thusly.

Sekhmet on January 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM

They voted for it.

Neo on January 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM

European Union sounds more like the Soviet Union every day. I’m fairly surprised about the thinking in Belgium since they went through such hell in WW2 from the Germans and French. They must have been invaded by the same body snatching aliens that we have here.

Kissmygrits on January 22, 2013 at 9:40 AM

What a great idea! Let’s start a bill in congress mirroring this ambitious EU proposal and tell the Democrats we’ll be happy to ‘regulate’ the first amendment since they’re hell bent on regulating the second.

smfoushee on January 22, 2013 at 9:42 AM

I would like to see news be just news without the reporter’s personal view point and editorials be free to say what they want. I don’t like it that so many news articles are borderline editorials. News should be news only and editorials can be views or full blown propaganda for that matter. It’s now to the point where peoples views are being shaped by editorials disguised as news. The day of the reporter is gone and that is a sad thing for people that want to be informed of the facts rather than the opinion.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 22, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Hey, anyone, what flick is that screen cap from?

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

1984

RadClown on January 22, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

It’s Julia from 1984.

Flange on January 22, 2013 at 9:47 AM

1984

RadClown on January 22, 2013 at 9:46 AM

I was way off.

Washington Nearsider on January 22, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Brussels coming up with dangerous and idiotic plans is unfortunately nothing new. A lot of it will get shot down, but there’s a quantity problem in that some things get through. I would presume that this suggestion if it moves beyond recommendations level will get an angry response by the population in most of the member states. It certainly would in my country.

kittysaidwoof on January 22, 2013 at 9:49 AM

It just seems to happen so quickly over there; one day they have a freedom and the next day it’s gone with the stroke of a pen.
Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM

I think if you look at history you will see that they have had many different forms of government many times. The changeover has just accelerated a bit because of technologies. People here look at France for example and say they are a far older and wiser country than the US because France is far older. In reality how long has their present or even post WWII government been around? Heck, they had an empire under Napoleon when we had a president. Truth be told the US republic is older than most governments of Europe.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 22, 2013 at 9:52 AM

The Europeans should follow the U.S. model, start at the Journalism school level, completely brainwash everyone and then sic them on the public, who believes they’re actually unbiased, and voila, you have Pravda and Izvestia and you didn’t even have to threaten them.

bflat879 on January 22, 2013 at 9:57 AM

if the state wants to start feeding journalists and media members into a chipper shredder i’m not lifting a finger to stop it. The media in this country is as much an enemy to freedom as any left wing politician and they should be treated as such.

bannor on January 22, 2013 at 9:58 AM

They voted for it.

Neo on January 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Not entirely and it was far from an informed decision in those that did.

Monumental Deceit: How Our Politicians Have Lied And Lied About The True Purpose Of The European Behemoth

Here’s another example: The death penalty has been abolished in EU member states for ages, BUT interestingly enough, in the Soviet-like EU with its 27 unelected, unaccountable apparatchiks, the death penalty was reintroduced in a footnote to the Treaty of Lisboa, upon neither the whole nor part of which the overwhelming majority of Europeans were allowed to vote. In its “explanations” and “negative definitions” accompanying the fundamental rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union allows a reintroduction of the death penalty in case of war or imminent war, but also the killing of humans to suppress insurgency or riot.

I am not a proponent of the death penalty, as it is cost ineffective and most death row inmates die of natural causes after millions have been spent on their cases; however, if there is going to be a death penalty, the Norwegian mass murderer makes a good case for it. He killed 77 and will be released from his spa prison in less than 2 decades with a new name and a new life.

Strangely, the European Soviet can kill you if you riot against or attempt to overthrow it regardless of how justified either are, but kill nearly 100 people? “Oh, no. We’re Europe. We are so civilised. We can’t kill mass murderers. We have evolved…unlike those Neanderthal Americans. Would you care for some Pouilly-Fuissé and Brie de Meaux?”

Resist We Much on January 22, 2013 at 10:01 AM

The Europeans should follow the U.S. model, start at the Journalism school level, completely brainwash everyone and then sic them on the public, who believes they’re actually unbiased, and voila, you have Pravda and Izvestia and you didn’t even have to threaten them.

bflat879 on January 22, 2013 at 9:57 AM

They are ahead of the US. The “conservatively-led” BBC is a case-in-point.

They even cover up the dirty knickers of their faves better than any organisation outside the National Enquirer. Jimmy Savile, 100s-1000s of victims, and both Piers Morgan and the new Pres & CEO of the New York Times, Mark Thompson, who once admitted that Muslims got better treatment than Christians in the news, covered it up.

Resist We Much on January 22, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Ah, 1984, thank ya kindly.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 10:12 AM

I was way off.

Washington Nearsider on January 22, 2013 at 9:48 AM

It does look like Sarah “I lied, I’m only 13″ Holcomb.

Flange on January 22, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Wow.

An entire continent of free nations pissing away their rights without so much as a feeble struggle.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I dunno why you find this so amazing, Bish. We’re an entire nation of 50 subsidiary sovereign states that pissed away their rights at the ballot box over the last century. It happens.

gryphon202 on January 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Yup. And it happens when people no longer truly understand the concepts of Individual Liberty and Unalienable Rights.

Democracy is just another word for Mob Rule. That is, unless the appropriate safeguards are built in to protect the rights of individuals and minority opinions. Unless we bother ourselves to understand WHY our Constitution prioritizes those things, how can we protect them? We’ve stood by and allowed the statist left, through academia and popular culture, to indoctrinate generations of Americans. And now, we’ve got AMERICANS going to the polls and voting their rights away. It’s unbelievable to me. But, there it is. We’ve seen our population dumbed down to the point where people no longer understand the basics of Freedom.

Murf76 on January 22, 2013 at 10:13 AM

It just seems to happen so quickly over there; one day they have a freedom and the next day it’s gone with the stroke of a pen.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM

European nations are literally the living incarnation of leftist beliefs that all your rights come from government, and this is one of the results. Unlike the USA there are basically no ‘brakes’ to slow down things. Everything you cherish can literally be gone in a day with a stroke of a pen and then it’s “have fun storming the castle”.

MelonCollie on January 22, 2013 at 10:14 AM

It’s already regulated in America. Traitors like Dan Rather get no prison time (or a bullet) for their traitorous acts. Regulating helped to elect a Communist for President…twice! Screw the EU…

Karmi on January 22, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Somewhere, George Orwell is laughing his ass off!

GarandFan on January 22, 2013 at 10:25 AM

As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, Heller holds that licensing individuals before allowing them to exercise a constitutionally-guaranteed right is entirely acceptable. So why not license journalists?

It’s now a policy matter, not a constitutional one.

PersonFromPorlock on January 22, 2013 at 10:33 AM

So we won the Cold War only to lose it.

rbj on January 22, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Well it is working so well here for 0bama and other members in good standing of the democrat party. Europe is the only place to get less biased news on what the fascists are doing here in the USA.

jukin3 on January 22, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Oh – Wait, I’m sorry…..I thought the headline was:

“Let’s Execute Jounalists”……..

THIS is a different discussion…..nevermind…

williamg on January 22, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Wow.

An entire continent of free nations pissing away their rights without so much as a feeble struggle.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Eloquently put.

GWB on January 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM

o/t

Sean Agnew ‏@seanagnew

RT @AP: BREAKING: Neb. governor tells federal officials he’s approved new Canadian pipeline route through state – BW

Resist We Much on January 22, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Well it is working so well here for 0bama and other members in good standing of the democrat party. Europe is the only place to get less biased news on what the fascists are doing here in the USA.

jukin3 on January 22, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Well said…I notice quite a few US conservative bloggers get stuff from the UK Daily Mail. Although the BBC tends to slant left (like your networks) the Mail, Sun & Telegraph, all conservative, are the biggest selling papers in the UK. the US does not appear to have any big selling conservative newspapers. Talk about the 1st amendment all you like it still has not stopped the US media (almost all of it) pimping Obama 100% and downsizing Fast/Furious, Benghazi, Black Panthers etc

callingallcomets on January 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM

…orders for printed or broadcast apologies…

How does that work exactly? They order somebody to mouth the words, or else! Lies are not apologies.

Fenris on January 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Wow.

An entire continent of free nations pissing away their rights without so much as a feeble struggle.

Bishop on January 22, 2013 at 9:18 AM

All of Europe did so decades ago. And they never had or will have a government structure, a concept of checks and balances, or certain inalienable rights like the US USED to have. Pre-Obama, of course.

Myron Falwell on January 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Fools/sheeple inhabit Europe/Canada/Australia

The disease has hopped onto AmeriKa too.

In a very schadenfreudig abstract way I wish it onto the US media. However, I’d prefer that they suffocate from eating Obama’s sh*t, which they confuse with Beluga caviar.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Journalists in the US probably believe that the First Amendment’s freedom of the press is sufficient protection but when there were stretches to say that a dumb youtube vid (about Muslims, I believe, the purported basis for the Benghazi consulate attack) is not within freedom of speech for some reason, it makes me wonder.

It all comes down to how it is interpreted. If a news report is deemed to be “insulting” and the journalist(s) and/or news organization responsible were deemed to have strayed outside the protection (assuming it still had any) of the First Amendment then punishment could be meted out. Unlikely for the foreseeable future, but the implications are there.

Given time and the right circumstances, anything is possible. I don’t think journalists at that point would be too happy (this is not what we meant…).

Russ808 on January 22, 2013 at 4:15 PM

In the U.S., the Media self regulates…

voiceofreason on January 22, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Thanks. I needed the laugh.

BillH on January 22, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Just tell me this won’t mean an end to Page 3 girls.

WhatSlushfund on January 22, 2013 at 4:45 PM

I don’t understand why we’re not doing this in the U.S.

For example, newspapers… does anyone really need a printing press more advanced than what was available in the late 18th century?

The Founding Fathers never foresaw broadcast media, much less the internet… surely, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to those.

malclave on January 22, 2013 at 6:01 PM