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Supporting the role of the media in times of crisis

European countries should support the media in times of crisis “so that the latter can perform their various roles to the full”, PACE said today.

Approving a resolution on the basis of a report by Annicka Engblom (Sweden, EPP/CD), the Assembly said media in a crisis could be a source of objective information and accurate news, a channel for authorities to explain emergency measures, and a forum for stimulating public discussion.

There was a “real danger” of online misinformation, polarisation and populism in times of crisis, as debates became polarised and communities fragmented, the parliamentarians warned.

The Assembly called on Council of Europe member States to ensure the conditions for a “strong, pluralistic and independent media ecosystem” that could support coherent deliberative processes locally and internationally.

For their part, media should be encouraged to engage in fact-checking and verifying user-generated information.