Joining forces, EBU, the Association of Commercial Televisions, the Association of European Radios and News Media Europe got together to organize a conference on the Future of Media, addressing their views and concerns to the new European Commission in particular, as well as to Members of the European Parliament, assembled in Brussels on 3 December.
Vera Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Values and Transparency, opened the conference by recognizing the key role the media play in democracy. She acknowledged that, although the online environment is very positive, it has also led to a new way of sharing information as well as a new business model. She recalled the need for a level playing field, underlining that the upcoming Digital Services Act would reinforce the digital single market for all digital services and that all EU Member States would be assessed for independence of their judiciary systems, their fight against corruption, their media pluralism and freedom of speech.
Speaking in the name of the EBU, Richard Burnley, Director of Legal and Policy, stressed the need for fair competition: “We want a fair race” he said. He explained that platforms should not be able to favour their own content to the detriment of others and that there should be rules to ensure that PSM content is prominent and findable. He insisted that platforms must respect content regulation and that – while the current EU regulation is useful, it is not sufficient. He called for competition rules to be adapted and applied more robustly and creatively. Finally, Richard Burnley also called for the possibility for PSM to access their own data, an essential tool to better serve the public, particularly in the context of the shift towards a data economy.
In the three subsequent panels, representatives of the Commission, academia and the media sector discussed the conditions necessary to the preservation of quality journalism, outlined the necessary environment for a thriving media sector and highlighted the need for fair competition in digital markets, with media representatives particularly stressing the role of platforms and the necessity for them to take their responsibilities as to their contents.