Vestager is a threat to digital independence

Dear Editor,

Margrethe Vestager is set to become the next vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Age. As one of the most powerful women in Europe, her words therefore carry weight.

Her insistence that we must have ‘independent, unbiased and hopefully pro-European media’ is seriously worrying. It can hardly have escaped readers’ attention that there is an interesting non sequitur in suggesting that media can be both independent and pro-European at the same time. It speaks to the arrogance of the European Union to presume that independence requires adherence to a particular political world-view.


The word ‘unbiased’ sounds innocuous enough, until you ask the simple question: Who will be the arbiters to judge whether or not a journalist is being unbiased?

The Roman poet Juvenal asked ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodies’ – who guards the guards? Whenever the State tries to compel or control speech, it is no longer an impartial actor. The words of Vestager are disturbing, and – if you’ll pardon the pun – politically somewhat juvenile.

John Tennant MEP

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