Media freedom is an essential condition for democratic elections.
The media must be able to inform the public independently, without
political or economic pressure, as voters cannot be said to have
genuine freedom of choice if that choice is not a well-informed
one. In particular, member States must guarantee the editorial independence
of public service media and put an end to any attempt to influence
or transform them into government media.
Given their particular role, broadcast media have specific
responsibilities during elections and national laws should require
them to cover election campaigns in a fair and impartial manner.
A free, independent and pluralistic media environment is an essential
condition for countering misinformation and propaganda.
Given the expansion of online media and the growing role of
social media, the electoral process needs to be better protected
from the manipulation of information through these media and clearly
establish their legal responsibility in the event of the publication
of illegal content prejudicial to candidates. Internet intermediaries should
co-operate with content verification organisations to ensure that
any information is confirmed by an authoritative third-party source.