In the past, non-democratic regimes used State broadcasters to glorify their policies and undermine opposition through agitation and false accusations. Through the democratic transitions in most European countries, public service broadcasting has become independent from governmental influence, which constitutes a requirement for media freedom in Europe. Nevertheless, some public service broadcasters are regularly faced with allegations of undue political bias.
The Internet and the technological convergence of media have created many new forms of publicly disseminating information and opinions. Since many of those new online media do not adhere to strict editorial standards, fake news and politically motivated information are multiplied over the Internet.
While hate speech may require legal prosecution, fake news and political propaganda can more easily be countered through other media. Commercial media might not always fulfil this task, especially when they are held by entrepreneurs with political connections or ambitions.
Therefore, public service broadcasters are well placed to ensure quality journalism with a diversity of information and opinions including minority views as well as to provide media attention to matters of public concern in a truthful and politically independent manner.
The Parliamentary Assembly should analyse the situation of public service broadcasters in member States and develop guidelines for their independence and role in a technologically converging media environment with a growing amount of user-generated content.