European Media Policies Revisited


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Valuing & Reclaiming Free and Independent Media in Contemporary Democratic Systems (MEDIADEM)
Federica Casarosa

CMPF Summer School 2013 for Journalists and Media Practitioners

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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European Media Policies Revisited

  1. 1. European Media Policies Revisited: Valuing & Reclaiming Free and Independent Media in Contemporary Democratic Systems (MEDIADEM) Summer School for Journalists and Media Practitioners Federica Casarosa Florence, 13/05/2013
  2. 2. Outline MEDIADEM research project – organisation and objectives Regulation of professional activity Copyright and freedom of expression
  3. 3. Mediadem MEDIADEM is a European research project on media policies for free and independent media.  The project examined the configuration of state media policies that target or conversely constrain the development of free and independent media.  12 EU countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the UK) and 2 EU candidate countries (Croatia and Turkey).  Analysis across media sectors and various types of media services, including ‘new’ media services.  Domestic socio-political context and external regulatory pressures (EU, Council of Europe). Project duration: April 2011-March 2013 - concluded
  4. 4. The consortium  The project is an interdisciplinary effort of 14 institutional partners:  Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Belgium, Pierre-François Doquir)  Centre for Liberal Strategies (CLS, Bulgaria, Daniel Smilov)  Institute for International Relations (IMO, Croatia, Nada Švob-Đokić )  University of Copenhagen (UCPH, Denmark, Henrik Søndergaard )  University of Tartu (UT, Estonia, Halliki Harro-Loit)  University of Jyväskylä (JYU, Finland, Heikki Kuutti)  University of Bielefeld (UNIBI, Germany, Christoph Gusy )  Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP, Greece, Evangelia Psychogiopoulou).  European University Institute (EUI, Italy, Fabrizio Cafaggi)  Hertie School of Governance (HERTIE, Germany/Romania, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi)  School of Communication and Media (SKAMBA, Slovakia, Andrej Skolkay)  University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM, Spain, Susana de la Sierra)  Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV, Turkey, Dilek Kurban)  University of Edinburgh (UEDIN, UK, Rachael Craufurd Smith).  The research team includes lawyers, political scientists, experts in media and journalism studies and sociologists.
  5. 5. Research questions Questions How are media policies formulated? How are media policies implemented? What factors contribute to the formulation and implementation of media policies? Do the policies conducted promote free and independent media? What are ‘free and independent’ media? What policy processes and regulatory tools can promote free and independent media?
  6. 6. Media policy-making (1)  MEDIADEM:  Presumes that media policy-making is not a disinterested process. Rules and norms are not adopted and applied through bureaucratic, technical procedures.  Adopts an institutionalist perspective focused on the contribution of the various policy actors in policy formulation and implementation. Focus on intermediate-level institutions (i.e. policy networks linking economic groups to the state bureaucracy, party structures, corporatist arrangements, etc) and their strategic interactions.  Type of analysis: particularly appropriate given the substantial increase in the number of policy participants, the venues in which decisions are made and the processes through which decisions are taken.
  7. 7. Media policy-making (2)  Actors: next to governmental bodies and state ministries, independent regulatory authorities, private corporations, media and journalists’ associations, trade unions, civil society organisations working in the field of human rights but also individuals with an interest in the areas and topics dealt with (media professionals, scholars, etc) seek to affect policy.  National and European Courts: judicial decisions can have a substantial influence in supporting or challenging decisions made by policy-makers, as well as in promoting or conversely undermining the implementation and enforcement of particular laws.  Venues: State based institutional arrangements (more or less centralised) are supplemented by supranational settings (CoE, EU) affecting the configuration of national media policies.  Processes through which media policies are shaped: processes of state regulation, co-regulation and self-regulation.
  8. 8. Work plan (1) Phase 1: State of the art  Collection of background information on the 14 media policies and landscapes under study; the media-related action of the European Union and the Council of Europe.  Reaching a common understanding on key concepts upon which the project is founded (e.g. ‘media policy’, ‘media freedom and independence’). Phase 2: Case-studies  Empirical research in the 14 countries under study:  Investigation of media policy tools and the processes through which the rules are applied, monitored and enforced  State regulation, co-regulation, self-regulation  Traditional media and new media services.  Methodology: desk research (primary & secondary sources) and semi-structured interviews with domestic actors involved in media policy making and implementation.
  9. 9. Work plan (2) •Phase 3: Comparative analysis  Cross-state and cross-media comparative report which will explain variable patterns of media policy-making and regulation to the benefit/detriment of media freedom and independence. The analysis will cover the following thematic areas: • The independence of public service media in Europe. • Media policy strategies of the MEDIADEM countries from central and eastern Europe and their implications for media freedom and independence. • Media policy strategies pertaining to new media services and their implications for media freedom and independence. • Journalists’ professional autonomy as a factor supportive of freedom of expression and the right to information. • Domestic and European courts and their contribution to the protection of media freedom.  Report on media freedom and independence: The regulatory quest for legitimacy, effectiveness, quality and enforcement. •Phase 4: Policy development  Formulation of concrete policy recommendations for state and non-state actors involved in media policy-making, the European Union and the Council of Europe for the promotion of free and independent media
  10. 10. Professional regulation (1)  The regulation of media professionals  Journalistic activity has traditionally been considered as an instrument of freedom of expression.  The concept of professional journalism are not so neat • Definitions of journalists by public regulation are lacking in most of the countries • Only private regulation provides for criteria that inform journalistic activity facing problems of accommodating new forms of news production including user-generated content.  Domestic and European courts, instead, intervened in several occasions so as to qualify journalistic activity and the rights and obligations flowing thereof.
  11. 11. Professional regulation (2)  Private regulation in professional activity  Historically, journalism has been primarily self-regulated by the profession, as it fell into the press regulation category. • in the press the role of professional self-regulation has been predominant, in broadcasting co-regulatory models have emerged due to the higher level of public content regulation and the presence of public service broadcasting  Even within this general trend, defined by European legislation, differences across Member States remain remarkable.  In some cases integrated models across media regulate journalistic activity. Co- regulatory models emerge due to legislative intervention or, more recently due to developments of legislation (Belgium, Denmark).  In other cases, regulation is fragmented and the press remains separated from broadcast and electronic media with the exceptions of online newspapers regulated within the press sector (Bulgaria, Germany and UK).
  12. 12. Professional regulation (3)  A definition of journalist  The definition of journalists and journalistic activity plays greater importance in defining regulatory strategies and the allocation between public and private regulation.  The consequences of drawing such boundaries are linked with the granting of special privileges, e.g. access to sources or events, or the statutory right to protection of sources, or constitutional protection from claims of libel or privacy invasion.  Two macro-models • The status based definition, generally associated with the presence of a strong professional association based on membership, which defines who is a journalist and the applicable rules for journalistic conduct; and • The activity based self-regulatory regimes, developed where no strong professional associations exist
  13. 13. Professional regulation (4)  Regulatory bodies  journalists associations  “shared” power with industry representatives within press councils • New press councils have been set up, leaving the pure association model an exception (limited to Greece and Italy) • Threat of state intervention in the field or inability of the professional self-regulation to achieve the expected results of monitoring and enforcement of ethical rules among journalists. • Again exceptions emerge: Estonia (where two press councils partly overlap, creating inconsistencies) and the UK (due to the phone- hacking scandal)
  14. 14. Professional regulation (5)  Instruments and scope of self-regulation  All countries surveyed provide for multimedia codes of conduct.  Formally, the majoritarian model shows that regulation applies regardless the medium through which journalists disseminate content;  Exceptions still exist either based on content distinction (e.g. Bulgaria, Germany and UK) or on sector distinction (e.g. Italy and Turkey).  Citizen journalism and blogging are still not within the remit of Press Council regulation, though increasingly assuming public relevance  The distinction is based on the fact that social media are used by journalists to express their opinions and for disseminating news content to the public.  This implies that is the fact that professional journalists use social networks that makes them subject to journalistic ethics, whereas the same rules are not applicable where an individual produces the same news content on social networks.
  15. 15. Copyright protection and freedom of expression (1) Potential conflict between copyright and FoE within the news supply chains Copyright grants content owners a limited monopoly with respect to the communication of their works; whereas freedom of expression warrants the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas. National courts have interpreted in different ways the scope of copyright law vis-à-vis freedom of expression, reflecting different traditions in interpreting freedom of expression.
  16. 16. Copyright protection and freedom of expression (2) Copyright protection of news  Subject to specific regulations, due to the type of content (usually compiled and reused for informative purposes)  What is the role of online news aggregators? Is their activity lawful under current copyright legislation?  European Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society did not expressly define the threshold of originality to be applied to news articles • fragmented interpretation of the threshold in several countries • CJEU ruling in Infopaq seems to have facilitated a more harmonised interpretation regarding the level of originality to be applied to news snippets (see Copiepresse in Belgium, Meltwater in the UK).
  17. 17. Copyright protection and freedom of expression (3) Current interventions at national level  Regulatory interventions have also been undertaken though they are very fragmented and several regulatory processes are ongoing. • France government signed an agreement with Google to create an so- called Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to support publishers with the transformation to digital publishing • In Germany, a decision adopted in March 2012 by the coalition committee to require that ISPs pay an equitable remuneration for disseminating “press products“, within the time limit of one year after the publication • An amendment proposed to the Italian Law on Copyright Protection intended to provide stronger protection of copyright for newspaper publishers vis-à-vis search engines and news aggregators.  All this interventions aim at striking a different balance between the economic interests of traditional news providers vis-à-vis emerging nomadic giants such as Google.
  18. 18. More information & links Project website: Scientific coordination: Dr Evangelia Psychogiopoulou,
  19. 19. Thank you!