Policy Paper 25 | The Media Freedom Act: A Look at Portugal and Southern Europe

In September 2022, the European Commission published its proposal for a “European Media Freedom Act” Regulation, a legal instrument that will apply Europe-wide and whose aim is to create “rules to protect media pluralism and independence in the EU”. It addresses obstacles faced by the media, such as interference in its independence, increasing insecurity, declining revenues at traditional media platforms, and increasing dependence on “Very Large Online Platforms”.

In this paper, we take stock of the present state of media freedom, plurality and independence in four Southern EU countries (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain) and provide some pointers as to whether the measures foreseen in the draft Media Freedom Act address the structural and evolving weaknesses of the media sector in these countries, drawing on a large variety of sources and measures of many different dimensions of media freedom, offering comparisons between the four countries and with a European Union benchmark.