Joint statement ahead of European Parliament Data Protection vote

EMMA, the European Magazine Media Association, and ENPA, the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association are concerned that the European Parliament’s plenary is now set to approve the approach taken by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee on the draft EU Regulation on Data Protection, which will seriously undermine press freedom and journalism. 

A directly binding exemption in the draft Regulation for journalistic data processing – as proposed by two Parliamentary committees providing Opinions (JURI and ITRE) – is essential to ensure that journalists and publishers can continue fulfilling their democratic mission as regards investigating, reporting, writing and publishing editorial content without any obstacle , and to guarantee that sources are adequately protected. 

It is vital that with the change to a Regulation, the current exemptions for data processing for journalistic purposes set out in the 1995 Data Protection Directive are at the very least maintained . Unfortunately the Parliament is set to ignore its own Resolution from 2011, in which it “calls on the Commission to ensure that these exemptions are maintained and that every effort is made to evaluate the need for developing these exceptions further in the light of any new provisions in order to protect freedom of the press”. 

The approach on Article 80 taken by the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee represents a significant weakening of the protection for press and journalistic freedom compared to the current Directive and the Commission proposal, as a ll references to press and journalistic activities have been removed and the application of the exemption for journalistic data processing has been made optional at national level by using the wording “whenever this is necessary” and “to reconcile” data protection with freedom of expression. 

We would like to reiterate our call to MEPs to support an appropriate approach in order that the press and journalists can properly fulfil their democratic mission (as set out in our recent petition). While the JURI and ITRE Committee’s approach to Article 80 would best achieve this, the Commission proposal would at least help safeguard the status quo and protect the freedom and rights of journalists, which are of fundamental importance to our democratic society. 


Catherine Starkie 
Director, Legal Affairs, EMMA 
+32 2 536 06 02

Sophie Scrive 
Deputy Executive Director, ENPA 
+32 2 551 01 90


The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats.

The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 14 national associations across 14 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.