Calls For Europe-Wide Press Regulation: Phone Hacking's Latest Consequence

A proposal to the European government suggests widespread regulation of all media, extending even to new media and bloggers.

The aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal has already seen proposals for stricter press regulation in the U.K. but The Register reported Tuesday that a new paper written for the European Commission has suggested the need for sweeping regulation across the entire EU, including controls over new media and bloggers. The report comes from the High-Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism, noting that there is a need for new regulation that balances "the new dimension of freedom of expression and the justified rights and interests of other citizens."

The measures suggested within the report are likely to prove extremely controversial, since they include punishments such as fines and "removal of journalistic status" for those who fall foul of the proposed laws. All media "regardless of the transmission medium" would be subjected to scrutiny, which may have grave implications for social media and blogging. It's worth noting that the report is just a suggestions paper, however, and is far from being concrete legislation—and it does also suggest that state funding for ailing media systems, such as newspapers, may be necessary.

Is press regulation a great thing, a freakish idea, or an inevitability?

[Image: Flickr user Marion Doss]

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