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Advocacy in Action: Creating a future where public service media thrive

27 March 2024
Advocacy in Action: Creating a future where public service media thrive

In this guest blog, Milen Mitev, Director General of Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), writes about the importance of advocacy and how the right laws and regulations for public service media help them to deliver on their mandate to inform, educate and entertain every citizen.

The laws that govern media activities shape the way we operate. This is especially true in the current, fast-evolving landscape. Legislation often forms the basis upon which our funding or independence are decided. In recent years, EU lawmakers have increased their attention towards the media sector, realising its major importance for democratic societies and the challenges presented by the quick adoption of new technologies and their impact on audience habits. As we saw last year in the European Media Freedom Act, legislation also has the potential to re-balance our relationship with online platforms. This is why advocacy must be a priority for the EBU, particularly when it comes to safeguarding the future of public service media (PSM).

I have dedicated over a decade to the EBU’s advocacy work, via contributions to the Legal and Policy Committee. Now that I have recently been elected to the EBU’s Executive Board, I am keen to share how vital advocacy is for the future of PSM. It is my hope that the EBU’s advocacy activities take a more prominent position because it is a truly effective way to address many of the challenges facing PSM.

In an era where democratic values are threatened, resilient and independent PSM are essential. PSM must remain the voice of impartiality and reliability in the dissemination of information. Our commitment to serving the public interest even amidst political turmoil underlines our importance in contributing to an informed public. The core of PSM value lies in our independent governance and reliable funding structures. Both of which are decided through national legislation, but are now also supported by EU law. This is why advocacy is so essential. These rules can safeguard PSM autonomy in the face of increasing political and economic pressure. Our advocacy work helps shape the new laws, to ensure the resilience and integrity of PSM.

Advocacy is also essential to regulate the digital landscape, where algorithms and commercial deals are the ultimate arbiters of who sees what content. For true media freedom, this situation cannot remain unchallenged. It should not be that the media must negotiate platform-by-platform more equal terms and conditions. Laws at EU level aim to protect PSM content online and it is through knowing our rights and calling for strong enforcement, that we can help turn the tide. Moreover, it is important that we continue these efforts to ensure that PSM content is easily to find and discover on all devices, platforms and interfaces. EU law can help us to achieve this.

In conclusion, I have witnessed the impact of laws and regulations on PSM over the years. I see the indispensable role that the Legal and Policy community plays in shaping the EU laws that influence PSM. Challenges remain, especially in the areas of independence, funding, and the digital sphere. These are not passing concerns, but integral elements that decisively influence the path of public service media. Navigating the complexities of the media landscape, advocacy is the spotlight that guides us towards a future in which PSM not only endure but emerge as a resilient and influential force, firmly anchored in the Europe’s future.

Relevant links and documents

Written by

Milen Mitev

Director General