We care about making our democracies more resilient. While the protection of democracy requires a constant whole-of-society approach, we also believe more should be done on the EU level. The EU democracies are facing unprecedented pressure, both external and internal, aiming to divide the societies and undermine the legitimacy of democratic processes and institutions. An effective and coordinated response is thus necessary and must be addressed in a timely manner.
The Alliance supports the European Commission’s effort to address election integrity, media freedom, disinformation and civic engagement as the key areas which must be tackled to protect democracy.
Among others, the Alliance believes and proposes that:
- Both elections integrity and disinformation must be addressed through strict transparency measures imposed on online platforms, which now serve as the key source of information for huge parts of the EU population.
- Enhanced resources for monitoring and analysis of the media space, with a coordinating office at the EU level and tougher measures for those breaching the rules, should be enforced.
- Political advertising online should be regulated in the same manner as it is regulated offline.
- EU should play a key role in safeguarding media freedom and journalistic safety on the EU level by providing financial support for journalists and making the media freedom a key priority as a part of conditionality principles to receive structural funds
- An independent evaluating body should be created on the supranational level to examine all media outlets operating in the Union and rank them according to editorial standards and independence and impartiality. The whitelist of the outlets operating according to journalistic standards should be promoted across the information space and serve as a motivation for others to increase the standards.
However, more focus should be also put on citizen engagement with the public sector, civic education and efforts to bridge the gap between the so-called “elites” vs. “citizens” as the feeling of being left behind and a perceived lack of inclusion in the system strongly contribute to the increasing distrust and disillusionment among the citizens. According to GLOBSEC’s Voices of Central and Eastern Europe, less than 50% of citizens in the region believe that their needs are well taken into account by the system, while 67% believe that oligarchs and financial groups have strong control over the government in their country.
The entire feedback can be found in the pdf below.