German Chancellor Angela Merkel touted the importance of the role of media and reliable information during the coronavirus pandemic, at a digital conference on EU media policy on Tuesday.
The pandemic has presented Europe and the media with new challenges, she said.
“In such a situation, it is particularly important to have reliable information,” said Merkel. “To this end, media and journalism have a great responsibility.”
The European Union’s values, as well as diversity and independence, will provide the foundation for overcoming the crisis. She hopes that the bloc will jointly develop a method to maintain the media independence and plurality.
Media Minister Monika Grütters said that media diversity must be preserved especially in times “when on the one hand, there is an abundance of information, but on the other hand, there is a de facto monopoly position of individual market participants that exists.”
Grütters demanded more transparency from social networks, saying that leaders must look at why some stories are shared more quickly and widely than others, and examine who is paying for that. Steps must be taken against misinformation and restrictions on freedom of expression, she added.
Germany, the current holder of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, is also calling for a broad debate at the European level, to improve the transparency of media algorithms and make reliable content easier to find, said Grütters.
The pandemic has shown how important it is to have a culture of debate and tolerance of a variety of perspectives, she added.
DW’s Director General Peter Limbourg also participated in the conference.
lc/msh (epd, dpa)
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