Media Pluralism and Freedom in Europe

// CGCS Media Wire presents insight and analysis of recent United Kingdom media pluralism concerns stemming from the resignation of BBC director general, and the Leveson Inquiry from Judith Townend (@jtownend) of MeejaLaw.com. She recently traveled to Florence for a conference on media pluralism.

//For her recent Media Wire posts on the Leveson Inquiry, click here.

Events have moved fast in the United Kingdom in the past few weeks: the director general of the BBC has resigned after just 54 days in post, drawing renewed attention to the broadcaster’s editorial guidelines and management structures.

This broadcasting crisis around the BBC’s coverage of child abuse allegations, currently dominating national media front pages, is set against the backdrop of the Leveson Inquiry, which is expected to release its findings and recommendations for future regulation of the ‘press’ at the end of the month. Media plurality and regulatory issues are at the fore, across media platforms.

It was altogether a more peaceful week for media news when academic researchers, regulators and policy makers gathered for a media pluralism and freedom conference in Florence on October 29th, hosted by the European University Institute’s Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF), a project co-financed by the European Union. Participants considered a range of questions:

  • How should we frame and measure media pluralism and media freedom across social and political dimensions?
  • What are the economic considerations?
  • What has been happening in the Court of Europe?
  • What regulatory and ‘soft law’ options could tackle the issue?

Members of the Centre and external media regulation specialists addressed wider issues for the European Union and the event saw the introduction of a new policy report for the European Commission drafted by members of CMPF, ‘European Union Competencies in Respect of Media Pluralism and Media Freedom’, which aims to find solutions which will “accommodate media freedom and pluralism without compromising other values”. The Centre has made a variety of resources about the event available on its site:

Further reading:

  • ‘The European Union and Media Ownership Transparency: The scope for regulation intervention’, Yolande Stolte and Rachael Craufurd Smith, University of Edinburgh, June 2010 [PDF]
  • Mapping Digital Media 60 country-study by the Open Society Foundations
  • IRIS Special, Converged Markets – Converged Power? Regulation and case law, November 2012 (by order)

//Judith Townend is a PhD research student at the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism, City University London, where she also co-ordinates the ‘Open Justice in the Digital Era‘ project. She is @jtownend on Twitter and blogs at http://meejalaw.com.

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