Bulgarian human rights activists and journalists expressed their admiration of the European Initiative for Media Pluralism, launched by European Alternatives and a coalition of civil society organisations across Europe, as one of the transnational tools used to foster genuine competition in the audiovisual services internal Union market, and to improve European citizens’ access to information. European Alternative’s co-director Lorenzo Marsili, the national coordinator of the “People, Power, Participation” Project Rosen Dimov and the Executive Director of the Bulgaria’s Centre for Media Development Assen Velichkov, welcomed the appreciation and inquiries of the audience in the Red House Centre of Sofia on 21 September 2012.
Highlighting the major features of the legislative proposal put forward through the facility of the European Citizen’s Initiative, a new tool under the Lisbon Treaty of the European Union, the organisers emphasized the open, deliberative and participatory nature of the media pluralism campaign. The concrete legislative process will start after fulfilling the legitimacy requirements about the European Citizens’ Initiative (the number of citizens’ signatures gathered in total, and on a EU member country basis): despite the reinforced role of citizens’ interests representation in the triangular law-making Formula European Commission-European Parliament-EU Council, the final word will come from the European institutions, rather than its citizens. To be sure that the final outcome of all this Europe-wide consultations with the public corresponds to the authentic and legitimate wishes of European citizens, European Alternatives and its partners aims to mobilise all social actors: therefore, no deviation from the original direction taken will be allowed. Secured through the citizens’ scrutiny and their organisations around Europe, the legislative instrument to come (possibly a new Directive) will continue to tackle the cornerstones of the European Initiative for Media Pluralism coalition’s ECI Proposal.
Additionally, the organisers made it clear that no party would be allowed to benefit from the Initiative. Instead, a cross-party transnational alliance in the European Parliament is targeted: the European Parliament, being the voice of European citizens, would pressure the other European institutions in the legislative process to strictly follow the requests of the European people. Additionally, the plurality of opinions to be vocalised by experts, as well as citizens, would make it possible to determine the content and the procedural matters of the Directive to be enforced as an outcome of the Initiative. Last but not least, it is clear that media regulation at the Community level constituted a further landmark moment in European integration: building on the foundations of the internal market free circulation of services and the fundamental right to information, the effect of the Initiative would serve as a coherent stage in deepening the European Union.