Media Freedom Act: help now avoid ‘other Trumps and Ukraines’ / NEWSLETTER

Media Freedom Act: help now avoid ‘other Trumps and Ukraines’ 

Given the war in the East, and recent riots in the USA, the quality of the information ecosystem becomes central. With the current consultation, media leaders could seize industrial, policy and budget opportunities, beyond the basic democracy principles, with a view to media resilience.

Most Russians do not realise what is done in their name in Ukraine. Putin’s war has dramatically brought media freedom and pluralism into the centre stage: the defence of press freedom calls for faster cooperation and coordination between State authorities and private actors. Following Russia’s new law on (promoting) fake news, and the massive exodus of foreign correspondents out of Russia, news media outlets now share with online platforms the huge responsibility to inform citizens from the outside. 

Some conventional wisdom permates first thoughts leading to Media Freedom Act thinking: it is that media mergers reduce pluralism. This was often true within one country, but now it’s about an army of dwarfs facing a global duopoly. Indeed, there are thousands of national and regional media, in effect SMEs, fighting for survival versus the GAFAs, chiefly Alphabet (Google) and Meta (Facebook). Annual reports by the Media Pluralism Monitor increasingly look at this bigger picture. 

Cooperation or mergers could actually strengthen media competitiveness, and hence pluralism, if done across borders.  Indeed, consolidation of the media sector could help to create a critical mass, investing in IT and negotiating copyright royalties with GAFAs. 

The EU took a number media-related policy initiatives, listed in yesterday opinion piece, also summarising our main points. For now, there have been few reactions to the last one. We call upon news media groups and their various associations to feed into the ongoing consultation process. 


Moving forward, energising wider circles of editors, publishers, indeed investors would require one clear set of strategies for the sector. The successive layers of policy documents are well intended and mostly converging but still miss their ‘umbrella document’.This is overdue, as one increasingly speaks of Europe’s sovereignty, of industrial policy, also in the media sector. 


EU Institutions and funders are listening, so, fellow media professionals, let’s speak and act together

Pedro Ortún Silvan, Senior Fellow of  Europe’s Media Lab  

Christophe Leclercq, Chairman of Europe’s Media Lab 


Facebook va s’appuyer sur l’AFP pour lancer Facebook News en France (La Lettre A)

Christophe’s comments:

Media content sharing: if a European platform doesn’t do it, then others will…

Les médias se lancent dans le métavers : quelques cas d’usages concrets (


Le métavers est en plein essor. À la Une des journaux du monde entier, dans son interprétation restreinte, tout comme dans la définition la plus large, les médias (et les marques) sont obligés de s’intéresser à ce phénomène, augure de l’Internet 3.0. Voici une tentative de liste, qui n’a pas vocation d’être exhaustive, des débuts de quelques utilisations du métavers par les médias.


Digital Services Act: EFJ supports amendment binding platforms to  fundamental right (EFJ Blog)

In light of the upcoming vote, the EFJ calls on all MEPs to support an amendment which strengthens the terms and conditions of intermediary service providers (Article 12) – the online platforms – by enforcing full transparency and full compliance with European human rights standards and fundamental rights as enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This includes Article 11 on media freedom and pluralism.

The Digital Services Act must safeguard freedom of expression online (The European Magazine Media Associatio)

Imagine a world where platforms can censor negative news about themselves, where they can make arbitrary adjustments to their terms and conditions to block or remove news stories and real debate between citizens online is curtailed. This is what could happen if platforms are not obliged to respect European fundamental rights in the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Freedom of the press: Why censorship by platforms must be resisted (EURACTIV)

The Digital Services Act is a major piece of legislation that should result in a safer digital space. However, a recent vote in the European Parliament stopped short of adopting an amendment that would have made freedom of information in Europe free from non-EU private sector digital giants, writes Pierre Louette.

Europol’s saga, Schrems II fallout, DMA trilogue (EURACTIV Digital Brief)

Europol must delete the personal data of people with no established link to criminal activity, according to a binding decision of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) made public on Monday. This is the result of an inquiry into the agency’s data protection practices launched in 2019. For the supervisory authority, Europol was in breach of the data minimisation principle, processing data of individuals not relevant for criminal profiling, and the data retention principle, refusing to set a timeline for maintaining such personal data in its database.


Today [op.a. 04 Feb], the Commission is presenting a new Standardisation Strategy outlining our approach to standards within the Single Market as well as globally. The Strategy is accompanied by a proposal for an amendment to the Regulation on standardisation, a report on its implementation, and the 2022 annual Union work programme for European standardisation. This new Strategy aims to strengthen the EU’s global competitiveness, to enable a resilient, green and digital economy and to enshrine democratic values in technology application

Staffers of the conservative outlet have urged GOP lawmakers to oppose a bill that would help news publications demand compensation from social media giants.

France’s years-long copyright dispute is heating up again. After a détente of sorts before the holiday break, tensions have risen again between U.S. tech giants and the press industry over payment for news. And following months of technical discussions in the corridors of the country’s competition authority, the spat has taken a political turn.French magazines have launched a fresh offensive against Google to get them to sign licensing deals — and the French president has their back.

In the latest bit of regulatory woe for Big Tech in Europe, Google is trying to settle a German antitrust investigation into its news licensing product by offering not to expand the display of News Showcase “story panels” into general search results.

On Friday, a coalition of state attorneys general led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a new antitrust complaint (PDF) against Google, giving more details into the company’s alleged collusion with Facebook in programmatic ad markets. The filing was first reported by Politico.

Le projet de fusion entre TF1 et M6 ne constitue pas une menace pour le service public, selon les dirigeants de l’audiovisuel public auditionnés lundi par le Sénat, ceux-ci appelant plutôt à renforcer l’audiovisuel français face à l’emprise financière des géants du streaming. “Si TF1 et M6 pensent devoir fusionner pour rester en bonne santé, c’est important qu’ils le fassent”, a affirmé Delphine Ernotte, présidente de France Télévisions, devant la commission d’enquête sénatoriale dédiée à la concentration des médias en France.

Google has proposed measures on Wednesday (12 January) to address concerns raised by the German antitrust authority in the ongoing case regarding the Google News Showcase platform. EURACTIV Germany reports. In June 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) initiated proceedings against Google for the antitrust investigation of Google News Showcase, based on a complaint by Corint Media. The digital giant has now reacted and announced it will make adjustments in the areas criticised by the authority.

Axel Springer among the media groups demanding that Brussels intervene on search giant’s plan.

Les éditeurs européens ont porté plainte vendredi contre Google concernant son activité publicitaire en ligne, ce qui pourrait potentiellement renforcer l’enquête à ce sujet de la vice-présidente de la Commission européenne chargée de la concurrence.
Margrethe Vestager, qui a infligé à Google plus de 8 milliards d’euros d’amendes ces dernières années pour des pratiques anticoncurrentielles dans trois affaires, a lancé l’année dernière une enquête sur les activités de publicité numérique de Google.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Yvette Clarke, (D-NY9) introduced the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2022. An announcement referred to it as “a landmark bill to bring new transparency and oversight of software, algorithms and other automated systems that are used to make critical decisions about nearly every aspect of Americans’ lives.”

Europas Verleger haben eine Kartellbeschwerde bei der EU-Kommission gegen die Werbetechnologie von Google eingereicht.

Es sei höchste Zeit für die Brüsseler Behörde, Google Maßnahmen aufzuerlegen, die sein Verhalten tatsächlich änderten und nicht nur in Frage stellten, erklärte der Europäische Verlegerrat (EPC) am Freitag. “Google hat eine durchgängige Kontrolle über die Wertschöpfungskette der Werbetechnologie erlangt und verfügt über Marktanteile von 90 bis 100 Prozent in Segmenten der Werbetechnologiekette”, kritisierte der EPC-Vorsitzende Christian Van Thillo. Der US-Technologieriese habe die Verleger bei der sogenannten Adtech im Würgegriff.

“The aim to ensure fairness in the allocation of data value among actors in the data economy and to foster access to and use of data.”- Draft proposal for the EU’s Data Act, seen by EURACTIV
The proposal for the new Data Act contains rules for data sharing, access by public bodies, safeguards for international data transfers and interoperability obligations, according to a leaked draft seen by EURACTIV. The proposal will be published later this month and will set out rules to be followed by device manufacturers, digital service providers and users as the presence of connected devices accelerates.


Meta says it may shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe over data-sharing dispute (CNBC)
Meta has said it is considering shutting down Facebook and Instagram in Europe if it can’t keep transferring user data back to the U.S.

Le métavers, le journalisme et la réalité de synthèse (
Avec le métavers, le journalisme risque de disparaître s’il n’affronte pas le problème majeur de la création d’une réalité commune. La dimension autonome autoproclamée du métavers laisse présager une nouvelle forme d’anarchisme libertarien en vogue dans la Silicon Valley. En effet, le métavers se caractérise par des dynamiques spécifiques : auto-souveraineté (le Web 3.0), confiance et transparence (la blockchain), auto-organisation (les DAO, Decentralized Autonomous Organization), les mondes d’expérience numérique (en 3D majoritairement), et enfin les interfaces homme-machine.

EU funds fact-checking website in Hungary ahead of crucial election (EURACTIV)
Agence France-Presse (AFP) is launching a website to fight disinformation in Hungary, just three months before elections that will determine Orbán’s grip on power – however, experts remain sceptical.

What does Google’s new ‘page experience’ metric mean for publishers?(
From February, pages that load quicker will be ranked higher on search engines. This will impact content-dense news websites. Google’s new page experience metric will shape how your website performs on search engines from February. This means that readers could see more variety in the news brands appearing in Google’s top search results as better content and site performance are recognised by the shift.

Echo chambers, filter bubbles, and polarisation: a literature review (Reuters Institute)
Terms like echo chambers, filter bubbles, and polarisation are widely used in public and political debate but not in ways that are always aligned with, or based on, scientific work. And even among academic researchers, there is not always a clear consensus on exact definitions of these concepts. In this literature review we examine, specifically, social science work presenting evidence concerning the existence, causes, and effect of online echo chambers and consider what related research can tell us about scientific discussions online and how they might shape public understanding of science and the role of science in society.

Interested in more news and articles regarding the media sector? Follow @EuropeMediaLab on Medium to have access to our posts and archive, comment and share with your views to enhance the discussion around the media!

Check out some of our articles:

European strategy for the media sector? Possible keywords for 2019–2024

Cristophe Leclercq’s Net Take: “Avoid Censorship, Dilute Fake News with Quality”

#TackleFakeNews : Co-regulation? Leveraging media fact-checking into platform algorithms