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Nov. 30, 2021, 2:06 p.m.
LINK: www.euractiv.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Hanaa' Tameez   |   November 30, 2021

Starting in January 2022, 16 state news agencies in the European Union will band together to create a “European Newsroom” to cover EU-wide issues.

According to the EU news site Euractiv, the German Press Agency (dpa) will lead the initiative. Other participating agencies include Agence France-Presse (France), EFE (Spain), agencies from Austria, Italy, Slovakia, non-EU states Serbia and Albania, and Slovenia’s press agency STA, whose “government suspended the agency’s funding in December 2020 over its critical reporting, leading to criticism from Brussels, the resignation of its director, and a crowdfunding campaign to keep its doors open. Funding was finally restored in early November.”

Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, announced the formation of the collaborative at the second edition of the European News Media Forum in Brussels on Monday. The new newsroom will produce content in 15 languages and be based in Brussels.

Newsrooms across Europe have experimented with transnational collaborations for years (the Pandora Papers, most recently) but this is the first attempt at a newsroom that will (at least try to) cover the EU’s 27 member states. As our Josh Benton noted earlier this year, the largest newsroom in Brussels right now is … Politico Europe, the European edition of an American news outlet.

“Europe’s linguistic diversity means that media companies have long followed their own development paths in their national context, with their own models,” Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová said at the forum on Monday. “Therefore, the potential of this diversity of models has long been untapped … I strongly believe that by working together across borders, media are stronger. We have seen the incredible results of cross-border investigations, such as the recent Pandora Papers. I also believe that such networks and solidarity make it more difficult for States to interfere.”

The creation of the European Newsroom is part of a larger effort to make journalism across Europe financially sustainable and preserve press freedom. Along with the European Newsroom, Breton announced that next year the Commission will present a “European Media Freedom Act” that focuses on protecting journalism from “interference from foreign actors.” Included in that act will be rules that will stop larger media companies from acquiring smaller ones as a way to curb political interference, according to Reuters.

Read Breton’s full speech here.

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