Government officials should not abuse their legal resources or custody over public finance to exert control over media content.
- Voters should be able to form opinions independently, free of violence or threat of violence, compulsion, inducement or manipulative interference of any kind.
- The exercise of power and the use of public funds by the state, the granting of customs duty privileges, the arbitrary and discriminatory placement of official advertising and government loans, the concession of radio and television broadcast frequencies, among others, with the intent to put pressure on and punish or reward the opinions they express threaten freedom of expression, and must be explicitly prohibited by law.
- States shall not use their power over the placement of public advertising as a means to interfere with media content.
- Media outlets should not be required by law to carry messages from specified political figures, such as the president.
- We are of the view that elected political officials and members of government who are media owners must separate their political activities from their media interests.
- Measures should be put in place to ensure that government advertising is not used as a vehicle for political interference in the media.
- Checking the media: their affiliations, their availability to political parties and the ease of access of the public to them; are they “weighted” in favour of any particular cause or are they truly independent? are they controlled by one political party?
- While noting that art. 19, para. 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities, to refrain from imposing restrictions which are not consistent with paragraph 3 of that article including on: The free flow of information and ideas, including practices such as the banning or closing of publications or other media and the abuse of administrative measures and censorship.
- Governments and public bodies should never abuse their custody over public finances to try to influence the content of media reporting; the placement of public advertising should be based on market considerations.
- In its assessment of the media environment, an EU EOM will consider the broader obligations of state authorities, including the responsibility not to limit unjustifiably the activities of the media, or impede journalists in their reporting, as well as their responsibility to promote pluralism and freedom of the media.