In this system, the EU’s role – defending the European values of media freedom and pluralism – is further justified by the need to protect its own representative democracy. After all, free and democratic European parliamentary elections could be called into question if some of the member states in which they are held lack media freedom and pluralism.

The fact that the group’s recommendations do not align with much of the media’s reporting on them suggests either that the group’s report overstates its intentions, or that the reading of some media outlets has been skewed. Reports that the group’s recommendations would empower the EU to protect media freedom, not to regulate the media – and even criticism that the recommendations leave too much to national authorities – support the latter interpretation. They also raise questions about why some in the media read so much EU control into the report; maybe the fact that it was an EU report meant more than its content.

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