‘Press freedom has limits’: EU’s Juncker takes shot at UK media
In an interview with three Austrian news outlets, Junker was quizzed on the way the UK media behaves on certain occasions.
It [British press] is, in part so, that they do not respect the human rights of political actors at all. Press freedom also has its limits.
While he could not say exactly where those limits lie, he urged that journalists should be able to “feel what you are allowed to do” and not “bring people in privacy in distress.”
Notably, during the interview, Juncker also said people should “stand up” to attempts to suppress press freedom, and that politics should not have its fingers in journalism.
The top brass also gave his take on another issue that’s seemingly marred his ties with the media world. He particularly castigated news outlets – not only from UK – for trying to make it look like he was responsible for the Brexit.
Saying he was asked by the government of former UK PM David Cameron not to interfere in the Brexit campaign, Juncker now regrets that the EU Commission failed to do so. It would have brought “proper questions” into the debate, the official argued.
The EU Commission president has taken his share of hits from the media, including the British press, from his appointment as commission president to alleged drinking problems, which he has repeatedly denied.
Juncker, 63, found himself in the media spotlight in July when he was filmed stumbling at a NATO event. Later, he left the building through a side entrance in a wheelchair. Dismissing accusations of drunken behavior and condemning the “insulting headlines” published that day, Juncker explained that he had suffered from a “painful attack of sciatica.”
It is not the first time the EU has taken aim at the British media particularly. Last week, European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova called on the bloc to consider a joint “approach to media based on quality and smart regulation." The fury in Brussels was triggered by the “EU dirty rats” story published by The Sun. There, the presidents of the European Council and France, Donald Tusk and Emmanuel Macron, were mockingly depicted as American gangsters holding guns.
British media have also been in hot water after the recent damning report by the Media Reform Coalition. The group that stands up for ethical journalism claims that the coverage of the Labour anti-Semitism row in the UK was marred by “misleading or inaccurate reporting,” including false assertions and misquotations.
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