A new name behind EU media innovation: Europe’s MediaLab


Set-up in 2003 as a THINK-and-DO tank, Fondation EURACTIV developed media innovation projects and a more proactive EU media policy to support a healthy media sector. Given current health and economic crises, this non-profit organisation advocates for media independence and media pluralism in Europe, helping to spread novel business models for news media. Media freedom depends on the financial sustainability of the sector and better regulation of social media platforms. In this context, the organisation’s brand identity changes and the name is extended to Europe’s MediaLab (“MediaLab”). Read more on our press release.

Digital Services Act and Democracy Action Plan: read and react to our 7 recommendations to rebalance the media ecosystem and support sustainable business models for news media. We also look forward to the Meda Action Plan promised by the EU Commission. The survival of quality journalism is at stake.

Christophe Leclercq, Executive Chair fondateur@euractiv.com

Marc Sundermann, Senior Fellow (former EU Representative Bertelsmann) fondationdirector@euractiv.com                    



Google and French publishers fail to reach deal on fees for news content (Politico)
Google and French publishers failed to reach an agreement on how the platform should pay to display news content. For Google, an agreement in France could set a precedent not just for the rest of the EU, but also for countries like Australia, which is also trying to force Google and Facebook to pay media companies for their news content.
Les éditeurs de presse doivent-ils se réjouir de l’arrivée prochaine de Facebook News en France? (Zdnet)
Facebook News s’étend et promet des revenus à des médias internationaux (LeSoir)

Should the government use Section 230 to force the tech giants into paying for the news? (NiemanLab)
Section 230 not only protects web giants such as Facebook, it also protects every blog, online forum or app. To make tech giants pay publishers or enhance their liability, the government should use a specific law or tool without having Section 230 involved.

Newsrooms look to reclaim ad dollars from big tech (CBS News)
While Google is earning more and more money from news, newsrooms cannot bind together to ask better terms as it would violate antitrust law, says the News Media Alliance. One way to avoid such situation, would be to demonstrate that the extensive damage Google is causing newsrooms and the excessive amount of money it makes from advertising cannot be handled by current antitrust law.

Facebook threatens to bar Australians from sharing news over proposed law (Politico)
The Australian government proposed a draft code which would force online platforms to share revenues with local media companies. As a response, Facebook threatened to prevent users from sharing local news on its platform.


EU seeks new powers to penalise tech giants (Financial Times)
“There is a feeling from end users of these platforms that they are too big to care,” said Mr Breton, who is leading the overhaul of digital rules in the bloc. “[Under] certain conditions we may also have the power to impose structural separation.” “It’s like for small banks and big banks you don’t have the same rules — you have more flexibility for the smaller players and of course when you become a systemic [bank] you have a [different] set of rules,” he said.

Don’t quit Facebook. Change laws. What to do if you think Facebook worsens misinformation and hate speech. (The New York Times)
Unfair corporate practices can’t be fought with personal consumer actions: it would absolve government of responsibility. Hence, the goal should be changing the law, but the first problem we encounter is the fact that there’s no agreement amongst the platforms’ critics on the regulation that should be applied.

Utilities for democracy: Why and how the algorithmic infrastructure of Facebook and Google must be regulated (Brookings)
“We argue that Facebook and Google should be regulated as public utilities. Private powers who shape the fundamental terms of citizens’ common life should be held accountable to the public good. Online as well as offline, the infrastructure of the public sphere is a critical tool for communication and organization, political expression, and collective decision making.”

YouTube reverts to human moderators in fight against misinformation (Financial Times)
Google’s YouTube decided to use more human moderators to vet harmful content after the machines it relied on during lockdown proved to be overzealous censors of its video platform. While algorithms were able to identify videos that might potentially be harmful, they were often not so good at deciding what should be removed. And this is why you need human moderators, although machines are faster at addressing and removing harmful content before any user can see it.

As Big Tech reinvented the game, we must rewrite the rules (London Business School)

Read more:


GAFA LEAKS: call for spontaneous contributions

Google’s Influence in Europe: Christophe Leclercq comments: “As we wrote in our July Edito, the DSA consultation is likely to be dominated by GAFA-friendly positions – at least volume-wise, and we hope EU officials don’t fall for that.As this exercise goes into operational mode, this earlier research piece is a useful reminder of Google’s policy influence, including several EU bodies.
Readers who are aware of updated researches about GAFA, or who have the intention to work on this, are welcome to contact the MediaLab.

On these topics, two documentaries are worth watching:
The Great Hack: the film that goes behind the scenes of the Facebook data scandal (The Guardian)
Why The Social Dilemma is the most important documentary of our times (Independent)

Press freedom, a right for us all – Věra Jourová and Thierry Breton (Times of Malta)
“When media are in trouble, so are our democracies. As European leaders agreed this summer on a historic recovery package to address the crisis, specific attention must be paid to the media industry. The dramatic drop in revenues for the sector – close to 80% in several countries – puts our democracies at risk.”

Webinar “Together for the Future of Europe”: media’s role underlined  European Parliament Former Members Association (FMA)
This event was organised by the MEPs’ alumni association, featuring the leaders of political foundations related to the main EP groups. Answering a question by Europe’s MediaLab (Fondation EURACTIV), some speakers addressed the role of the media sector, in a way connecting the DSA and Democracy plans to informing the issue of a European public sphere.
Renaud Dehousse, President of the European University Institute: ‘There can be no good democracy without good intermediates’. ‘There is no European civil society’. ‘ ‘Pan-European media exist, but their audience is quite limited’.
Maria João Rodrigues, President of FEPS: ‘It’s impossible to achieve democracy without stronger media players. Also at European level, we need dynamic media actors. Otherwise, our public sphere will be dominated by Russian, Chinese, American actors. It’s an issue of European sovereignty.’

Protect Jobs, protect democracy, protect print media: Global unions launch campaign to ensure journalism’s future (IFJ)
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and UNI Global Union announced an effort to push governments to adopt emergency rescue packages for the print media industry as a whole (journalism, publishing, printing and distribution) as well as introduce a digital services tax on tech giants who have diverted advertising revenue from media outlets.

DO // Innovative solutions for journalism through Stars4Media

This is a training programme supporting 21 innovative solutions for journalism. It develops the skills of media professionals from diverse profiles and fosters cooperation across borders to address media business needs. To learn from media innovators from all over Europe, join the community on the Stars4Media LinkedIn Group!

On Wednesday 14 October, the Stars4media consortium organises the Media4Europe conference: the final event of the first edition of the Stars4Media exchange and training programme, co-funded by the EU. The agenda includes:

  • Stars4Media networking sessions: media innovators participating in the Stars4Media training programme will exchange on best practices, and present their initiatives.
  • 13:30 – 15:00 Policy debate and “Stars4Media Prizes”:

– Brief presentation of the key findings of the Stars4Media project
– A policy debate moderated by Christophe Leclercq on the continuation of the ‘rising stars’ training programme, with speakers from EU institutions, the media sector, and policy-makers:

  • Mogens Bjerregård, President of the European Federation of Journalists
  • Fernando de Yarza López-Madrazo, President of WAN-IFRA
  • Audrius Perkauskas, Deputy Head of Unit, Audiovisual and Media Services Policy, DG CONNECT, European Commission
  • MEPs: Dace Melbarde (ECR), Margarida Marques (S&D), Ramona Strugariu (Renew Europe), Damian Boeselager (Greens)
Register here for the debate