Filter bubbles and fake news were at the heart of the 13th session of the EBU Legal and Public Affairs Assembly which met in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) on 6-7 April. The Assembly, hosted by EBU Spanish Member RTVE, gathered Members' Legal Advisers and Public Affairs experts for a day and a half of discussions on the legal and policy issues impacting public broadcasters.
The Assembly was opened by Mr Javier Lamana Palacios, Secretary General and Secretary of the Board of Directors of RTVE and Mr José Canal Muñoz, Undersecretary of Education, Culture and Sport.
This was followed by a panel on the very topical issue of filter bubbles and fake news, which was the opportunity for 2 leading academics in the field, Professor Natali Helberger and Dr Walter Quattrociocchi to present their research. The floor was then handed to Mr Elmar Thevessen (ZDF, Germany) and Mr Martin Gouesse (FTV, France) to consider the practical implications for PSM and in turn to present the current initiatives of their respective broadcasters.
The panel was moderated by EBU Head of Media and Communications Law, Dr Michael Wagner, who wrapped up the panel with first reflections on possible regulatory answers to this phenomenon. The Assembly concluded that the EBU Legal and Policy Committee should follow up on this matter, also taking into account the forthcoming Commission Communication on online platforms, expected in May. The Committee could also consider whether further actions or positions should be taken by the EBU, perhaps in conjunction with the EBU News Committee.
Day 2 saw a special focus on the open Internet, with a deep-dive discussion on net neutrality, zero rating offers and notably a detailed explanation of a recent case in Sweden, presented by Mr Jimmy Ahlstrand (SVT, Sweden).
The Assembly also provided participants with an update on the latest regulatory developments within the EU Digital Single Market. An overview of the EBU position on the review of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, Copyright and Telecoms was presented alongside a summary of the latest lobbying efforts in Brussels. The EBU's interdisciplinary work on the Big Data Initiative was also on the agenda, with updates on the latest EBU workstreams and EU regulatory initiatives.
Finally, elections were held for the renewal of the Legal and Policy Committee for a new 2 year term (see more here).