Robert Szustkowski has published the Open Letter for extension of EU’s “Right to be Forgotten” law to news media outlets

WARSAW, Poland, July 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — In a landmark move to strengthen individual rights within the European Union, Mr. Robert Szustkowski has issued the Open Letter to the European Commission, advocating for the expansion of the EU’s “Right to be Forgotten” law. This proposal seeks to classify news media outlets as data controllers responsible for managing personal information, a change that could transform digital privacy and reputation management.

Addressing Executive Vice-President Jourova and Commissioner Reynders, Mr. Szustkowski highlights the need for updated regulations to protect individuals’ personal rights in the digital age. The original “Right to be Forgotten” law, introduced by former European Commissioner Viviane Reding in 2012, was a pioneering step in data protection. However, with the rapid growth of digital information sharing, Mr. Szustkowski calls for extension of the law to news media outlets.

The primary goal of Mr. Szustkowski’s initiative is to introduce procedures for safeguarding the European Union Community against disinformation by giving individuals additional tools to protect their image.

Mr. Szustkowski draws on his own experiences as a victim of continuous media “lynching” in Poland that tarnish his reputation, despite multiple court rulings in his favor. These relentless attacks highlight a significant gap in current regulations, where media outlets often hide behind claims of editorial independence and press freedom to justify publishing defamatory articles.

Mr. Szustkowski advocates respect for both the protection of personal rights and freedom of speech, arguing that individuals should have the right to remove false, undocumented or irrelevant information from the media that harms their reputation. This could be achieved by categorizing media entities as data controllers, making them responsible for the accuracy and rectification of information connected to personal data they publish. Furthermore, the initiative calls on the European Commission to establish clear guidelines for media publishers, including legal liability for breaches of the Directive. In this regard, media outlets should establish documented rules for approving sensitive articles to ensure accuracy and prevent damage to individuals’ reputations. Finally, information about personal data breaches should be widely available, raising public awareness and ensuring media accountability.

Extending the “Right to be Forgotten” law to news media outlets is essential to create tools to protect the reputation of EU citizens and help prevent disinformation across the European Union, says Szustkowski.

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