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Strengthening news media in the digital era: the EU approach


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Presentation by Anna Herold at the 2019 CMPF Summer School for Journalists and Media Practitioners - Covering Political Campaigns in the Age of Data, Algorithms & Artificial Intelligence

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Strengthening news media in the digital era: the EU approach

  1. 1. Strengthening news media in the digital era: the EU approach Anna Herold Head, Audiovisual and Media Policy European Commission European University Institute Florence, 24 June 2019
  2. 2. News media in a technologically evolving landscape Opportunities of technological innovation: •(i) New tools to gather, share and analyse information •(ii) New methods of journalistic cooperation •(iii) Automated/ “robot” journalism •(iv) Impact of artificial intelligence Challenges: •(i) understanding not only the sociological effects of technology i.e. artificial intelligence on journalism but also their impact on media pluralism •(ii) tackling the phenomenon of disinformation online
  3. 3. Commission actions to support news media   Member States retain significant responsibility for regulating their media landscapes   Commission’s approach: • 1) Legislation: audiovisual, maybe more? • 2) Financing projects • 3) Facilitating action at MS and EU levels
  4. 4. Future-oriented EU media legal framework  AVMSD: - establishes a level playing field between traditional audiovisual players and platforms - requires Member States to establish independence of regulators •- enhances transparency of media ownership •- requires MS and platforms to support media literacy  Copyright Directive  Whistleblower Protection Directive
  5. 5. Projects supporting quality journalism, media freedom & pluralism (i)   Commission is financing projects providing legal and practical support to journalists under threat, monitoring violations to media pluralism and freedom, analysing trends, conducting awareness raising campaigns   Monitoring media pluralism in the digital era is essential to evaluate the current - and future - trends and issues affecting the EU media landscape
  6. 6. Projects supporting quality journalism, media freedom & pluralism (ii) • Examples (running in 2018)   The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) with OBCT, SEEMO, Ossigeno, Index, IPI • Including: a. - #IJ4EU – a cross-border investigative journalism scheme to support teams of journalists working on important societal issues; b. -
  7. 7. Projects supporting quality journalism, media freedom & pluralism (iii) New projects foreseen in 2019: (i) supporting cross-border exchanges of young media professionals; (ii) encouraging exchanges of journalits working in minority languages; (iii) helping self-regulation in the press media in the digital era & (iv) the Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM2020)
  8. 8. Projects supporting quality journalism, media freedom & pluralism (iv) Coming next (stay tuned!) Actions to support media freedom and investigative journalism: - A rapid reaction mechanism, - Funding cross-border investigative journalism, - Supporting training, collaborative journalism, exchange of practices, ethical standards, events… & second year of the 4 previously mentioned projects  resulting in 10 to 12 projects (EUR 8.125 Mio) 2020: More to come
  9. 9. How is Commission helping the media sector to adapt to the digital era? • - Adaptation of the Media Pluralism Monitor (resilience to disinformation) • - Funding for cross-border journalism including innovative journalism • - Support for media councils (pilot project), helping them to adapt to the digital environment (support to self-regulatory bodies, survey, etc.)
  10. 10. The upcoming financial period (2021-27) - action to secure stable funding   Proposal for a Regulation establishing the Creative Europe Programme (2021-27), presented in May 2018;   Includes measures to support news media and media pluralism in the cross-sectoral strand;   Indicative allocation: EUR 61 Mio.   Main goal of the proposal: secure a more stable funding for actions on media freedom, media pluralism and media literacy
  11. 11. The upcoming financial period (2021-27) - action to secure stable funding  Policy goals:  (i) Address the structural changes faced by the media sector by promoting and monitoring a diverse and pluralistic media environment;  (ii) Support high media production standards by fostering cooperation, cross-border collaborative journalism, and quality content (e.g. supporting news media to develop new initiatives, such as syndication networks, pan-European collaboration);  (iii) Promote media literacy to allow citizens to develop a critical understanding of the media.
  12. 12. Addressing the challenge of disinformation   Protecting our democratic processes has been one of the Commission’s highest priorities - particularly ahead of the European elections   Three major, interlinked Commission’s initiatives: • (i) Communication on tackling online disinformation (April 2018) • (ii) Action Plan on disinformation (December 2018) • (iii) Elections Package (September 2018)
  13. 13. Commission’s approach to tackle disinformation   The Communication on tackling online disinformation (April 2018) reflects the commitment to improving access to quality and unbiased information online.   Commission’s approach to disinformation seeks to be both inclusive and action-oriented in order to achieve a speedy reduction in the volume of fake news.
  14. 14. Code of Practice on Disinformation (i)   Online platforms and the advertising industry have agreed on a voluntary basis to increase online transparency and protect citizens, especially with a view to the EU elections in 2019.   The Code includes commitments aim at: • 1. Improving scrutiny of ad placements and disrupting advertising revenues to accounts and websites that spread disinformation; • 2. Improving transparency of political advertising and issue- based advertising; • 3. Addressing the issue of fake accounts and online bots and; • 4. Empowering consumers and researchers
  15. 15. Code of Practice on Disinformation (ii)   Action Plan against Disinformation (December 2018) assigned to the European Commission, with the help of ERGA, the task to monitor the implementation of the Code. • Two phases: • Before the European elections: intensive targeted monitoring of the implementation of the Code of to ensure that policies with particular pertinence to electoral processes were in place ahead of the European elections. • By the end of 2019: overall assessment of the Code.
  16. 16. Monitoring implementation of the Code of Practice   Commission Report on the implementation of the Action Plan Against Discrimination (14 June 2019) provides a first assessment of the progress achieved.   The preliminary analysis shows that the coordinated European approach contributed to expose disinformation attempts while guaranteeing freedom of expression.
  17. 17. Monitoring implementation of the Code of Practice – support from ERGA   ERGA has supported the Commission in the targeted monitoring, particularly in the area of political and issue-based advertising.   ERGA Report with the results of its monitoring was adopted last week during ERGA plenary.   ERGA Report recognises the progress achieved by the platforms but points to lack of raw data (access to advertising database) to ensure comprehensive monitoring • - ERGA will continue its expert support to the Commission over 2019 (in the overall evaluation of the Code)
  18. 18. The Elections Package (September 2018)   European election cooperation network   Recommendations on: • transparency: guaranteeing the transparency ofonline political advertising; • data protection: implementing the protection of personal data in the electoral context; • cybersecurity: protecting against cyber attacks legislation: rules that apply offline should apply online; • appropriate sanctions: guaranteeing that electoral rules are respected by all.
  19. 19. Increased attention to fact-checking   The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN): • creation of a European branch of independent fact-checkers and launching a website that focused on fact-checking in the context of the European elections
  20. 20. Next steps towards disinformation   Overall assessment of the Code of Practice (autumn)   Deployment of a new digital service infrastructure for the establishment of a European Platform on Disinformation   Investing in new technologies   Increasing cybersecurity Co-regulation?
  21. 21. Importance of media literacy 1. Media literacy enables citizens to evaluate the credibility of information they encounter online and to assess alternative points of view 2. New obligations for MS and platforms under AVMSD 3. European Media Literacy Week held in March 2019 - with a series of events in Brussels and across Europe with a focus on countering disinformation in times of elections
  22. 22. Thank you and stay tuned! market/en/policies/media-freedom-and-pluralism @MediaEU