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10.09.2009 // ENPA and FAEP discuss the plight of the press sector with Commissioner Reding
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Economic and regulatory challenges facing the press in Europe: publishers’ associations ENPA and FAEP discuss the plight of the press sector with Commissioner Reding
David J. HANGER, FAEP President, and Valdo LEHARI Jr., President of ENPA held a meeting on 8 September with Commissioner Viviane Reding who is in charge of Information Society and Media at the European Commission.
The Presidents of the European Magazines (FAEP) and Newspapers Publishers’ Association (ENPA) informed Ms. Reding about the current difficult economic and financial situation of the press sector in the EU Member States, highlighting that the last two months showed the highest decrease of advertising revenue for Europe’s press in history. Advertising revenues have fallen between 20 and 50 percent depending on the market.
In this particular context and in relation to policy issues, the Presidents drew the attention of the Commissioner to the current and most urgent challenges which need an immediate and appropriate response from the EU institutions:
Google and the press: following the joint Reding and Commissioner McCreevy statement on the US Google Book Settlement (7 September 2009), ENPA and FAEP Presidents underscored to the Commissioner that a possible change in the current EU copyright framework in the favour of other stakeholders, such as Google, would represent a direct threat to the viability of the publishing industry. They also stressed that Google’s position notably in the online advertising market is also a concern to many publishers in Europe.
Mandatory advertising requirements: Commissioner Reding’s new decision to reject the European Parliament’s recent attempt to introduce an additional requirement for product information to be included in advertisements for energy related products is welcomed by FAEP and ENPA.
Following recent proposals of the Parliament and the Commission to extend environmentally motivated product labelling legislation to labelling in advertising (e.g. energy related products, tyres, and cars), ENPA President Valdo Lehari Jr. commented: “The Commission has rightly recognised that this proposal from the Parliament directly threatens the freedom of commercial speech in the press”. FAEP President David Hanger added: “This proposal will dramatically impact the advertising revenue of print and online press and therefore its ability to provide editorial content on topics like climate change and energy saving.”
ENPA and FAEP welcomed the Commissioner’s confirmation to support and protect advertising revenues as an essential source of finance for a free and independent press, in print and online. Without a free advertising market, the diversity of media and their independence could be endangered thus one of the fundamental pillars of our democratic societies weakened.
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