European Press Publishers underline importance of defending press freedom on World Press Freedom Day

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day European press publishers call to EU policy and decision makers to uphold press freedom and support the necessary legal framework for a free, independent, pluralistic and vibrant press sector that is able to perform its important role in our democratic society.

A key element of press freedom is the possibility for citizens to be able to easily access press content. Consumers today divide their attention between a variety of platforms, from tablets and smart phones to laptops and print. Press publishers need to have the flexibility to continue informing, empowering and entertaining their audiences on all these platforms.

Legislative issues that go to the heart of publishing businesses face various regulatory threats, including in the fields of copyright, advertising, distribution or other areas affecting the press, like data protection and privacy. Any negative impact in such fields would reduce the ability to invest in professional editorial content and restricting diversity of media content.

Referring to the current legislative work at EU level EMMA President Auke Visser stated: “There are a number of initiatives being discussed in the European institutions today that have the potential to help sustain the future of a free press in Europe, for instance by introducing a publishers right with copyright. An appropriate regulatory framework and fair competition are required in order for press publishers to be able to invest in innovative formats, new business models and quality content.”

In order to maintain a free, independent, diverse and vibrant press, European press publishers therefore call on EU policy and decision makers to always consider and uphold press freedom when taking decisions on regulatory initiatives.

EMMA, the European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats. EMMA represents 15.000 publishing houses, publishing 50.000 magazine titles across Europe in print and digital. For more information, visit

Background note: current legislative context

  • Strong copyright rules are needed as they provide the fundamental framework to secure remuneration for journalists and press publishers’ investment and ensure the sustainable delivery of independent creative content for Europe’s citizens. The current debate about the “publishers’ right” is crucial as this right is granting press publishers the legal protection and clarity already afforded to broadcasters and film and music producers.
  • The EU should allow Member States to extend their reduced, super-reduced and zero VAT rates existing on print to digital press in order to benefit both citizens and publishers.
  • European privacy rules must be designed in a way that press publishers may continue to give access to high quality journalistic content to the widest possible audience. In this respect, cookies and other technologies are indispensable for many purposes, including: selling quality press products, carrying out audience measurement (including to manage payment systems), designing a news website, preventing unauthorized access to content (in the case of metered paywalls), or delivering relevant ads.
  • Freedom of commercial speech is an integral part of freedom of the press which should be guaranteed. It is also essential because advertising remains a key source of revenue for the printed and the digital press. Existing self-regulatory approaches, which have proven to be effective, should be maintained and developed, rather than introducing legislative advertising restrictions.
  • In order to ensure both a high level of consumer protection and a level playing field between editorial media competing for advertising revenues, it is justified to keep existing quantitative limits, especially during TV prime time hours. Competition for advertising revenue is particularly sharp within the media sector (press, TV, radio) itself. This needs to be addressed in the review of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.
  • Fair competition and transparency in the digital world is vital for maintaining media plurality and facilitating an informed civil society. In order to allow readers to find and access press content, non-discriminatory and fair access of publishers to all digital platforms, as well as transparent and fair search engines, are prerequisites for the development of attractive and sustainable content offers. Principles such as fair search, net neutrality and platform neutrality are key and have to be upheld.


For further information contact:

Max von Abendroth 
Executive Director, EMMA

+32 2 536 06 04


The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats.

The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 14 national associations across 14 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.