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European official: media threatened by political pressure

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A leading European human rights official says that influence coming from governments and the rapid development of new technologies are among key challenges facing public broadcasters, which he said are among the pillars of a democratic society.

Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, said in remarks Tuesday that the independence of public broadcasters and of their regulatory bodies in Europe are under threat.

He cited staff changes in public media in Croatia; a new media law in Poland that puts public broadcasters under direct government control; and state funding cuts as a tool of pressure in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece.

He urged governments to guarantee media independence by providing sufficient funding and making sure top positions are filled with professionals through transparent procedures.

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