March Newsletter | Media Innovation: big picture needs the extra mile

Media innovation: big picture needs the extra mile

In the past few months the European Commission presented several legislative initiatives directly and indirectly regarding the media sector. They have been complemented with the creation of a dedicated envelope named NEWS bundle under The Media Action Plan, gathering all funding activities for News. New policies and media innovation are two necessary faces of the same coin, if we wish to rebalance the information ecosystem, especially towards big systemic platforms.

Adequate funding for News Media innovation projects across borders will help cooperation between media companies, hence strengthening their position in front of big players and consequently gather media leaders to join forces. As mentioned by VP Commissioner for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová during her keynote speech at the Media4Europe Summit on March 3rd, Stars4media is an example of the importance of such cooperation to reinforce the democracy’s infrastructure. Policies and thorough implementation will trigger a virtuous circle: more visibility for quality content, hence more advertising and revenues, therefore money for journalists and innovation.

However, there is still a lack of attention to Europe-wide media strategies. Leadership from Berlin, Paris and the Council and from press leaders themselves is needed, as outlined in the Op-Ed Beyond Brussels policies: leadership for Europe’s news media sector’’. The NEWS bundle should be filled with life and supported under the programmes Creative Europe and Horizon Europe. The study on a content-sharing European platform is in line with a potential industrial strategy for the European news media sector. There is a strong momentum to support a resilient democracy infrastructure, and a healthier media sector with more capacities to innovate. Europe should go the extra mile. With healthy independent News Media, democracy wins.

Marc Sundermann, Director (

Christophe Leclercq, Executive Chairman (


THINK – Media Policy: Rebalancing the Media Ecosystem

Feasibility study on a content sharing platform
Contracted by the EU Commission‘s DG CONNECT, Europe’s MediaLab as initiator and its consortium leader IDATE DigiWorld – plus three consultants – are carrying out a feasibility study for the European digital distribution of curated content, especially news, information of public interest and quality media content. Interested to provide your input and insights on what content sharing European platform(s) should look like? Please do not hesitate to contact us:

Marc Sundermann, Director
Christophe Leclercq, Executive Chairman

Op-ed: Beyond Brussels policies: leadership for Europe’s News Media sector

Christophe Leclercq, Marc Sundermann and Paolo Cesarini call for leadership from Paris, Berlin and the European Council, and from the press leaders: 

Dr. Ursula von der Leyen stated at her Strasbourg confirmation that she would preside over a ‘geopolitical Commission’ and put Europe’s democracy among her top six priorities.

The last French-German Summit following-up on the Aachen Treaty focused on ‘strategic autonomy’. British reluctance should no longer get in the way. Putting together these three notions, you could now convey one of Europe’s urges: an autonomous and open information ecosystem, grounded on European values.

Based on promising EU policy initiatives, where is the umbrella document explaining an overall vision for the News Media sector? Cross references within the December package, plus public relations and consultations are not enough. The NEWS bundle should be filled with life and supported under the programmes Creative Europe and Horizon Europe.” Read more here.

Christophe Leclercq is also on EDMO’s Advisory board:

Press release: European Fund established to build resilience against online disinformation

The European Media and Information Fund will mobilise financial resources in support of media literacy and fact-checking initiatives, as well as research projects on online disinformation. The Fund will also provide individual grants for young scholars and policy-makers studying digital and media literacy and online disinformation. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the European University Institute decided to set up the new Fund to help tackle online disinformation, which represents a growing threat to democratic societies. The rise of disinformation calls for more research into the reasons behind, as well as the techniques, actors and vectors used to spread disinformation.

Australian Media Code following NewsCorp -Google deal, Facebook news-ban & Microsoft’s support of the code According to the draft content-licensing law (“News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code”), the Australian government will require large digital platforms to pay publishers in return for linking to their articles. In reaction, Facebook decided to block publishers and people in Australia from sharing local or international news. But the Australian government stayed determined to pass the bill. According to The Guardian: “In one sense, that’s important because it establishes the principle that democratically elected governments, not tech companies, decide what happens in their jurisdictions. And that’s vital, because a working democracy cannot have unaccountable corporate powers loose on its patch.” Later on, Facebook and the Australian government reached an agreement after deciding to amend some parts of the code. The tech company then decided to restore the possibility to share content.

In the meantime, Microsoft picked its side on the issue saying that the US should adopt a similar law to force Google and Facebook to pay publishers. Consequently, a new feud between Google and Microsoft seems to be arising, with Google claiming that its competitor has been criticising Google’s deal with publishers in an effort to undercut the rival, among other attempts.

Microsoft supports European publishers get big tech to pay for news (SiliconAngle)
Data: How Australian news websites saw sharp fall in traffic after Facebook news ban (Press Gazette)
Australia’s move to tame Facebook and Google is just the start of a global battle (the Guardian)
Here is the response of the German Newspaper Publishers and Digital publishers Association (BDZV): “It is high time that governments all over the world limit the market power of the gatekeeper platforms”.

Media freedom

Private Polish media go off air to protest new tax (EURACTIV): Christophe Leclercq declared: “We need a DigitalTax on GAFAs across Europe, not a tax on free media by governing politicians. This is as important as Rule of Law issues regarding justice in Poland. Boosting revenues and innovation for media independence inspires Stars4media, and future NEWS actions under the Media Action Plan. 

Disinformation and online platforms’ regulation

How Google’s funding for journalism could threaten media pluralism (VoxEurop)
Google’s support for journalism comes with a catch: its financial aid has helped to bolster incumbents in European media markets against new challengers; the digital giant has used its clout with publishers to further its political aims; journalists warn of potential self-censorship in a bid to not scare off the new patron.

Can the EU Regulate Platforms Without Stifling Innovation? (Harvard Business Review)
When it comes to regulating data and the growing power of tech companies, Europe is the global test case. While the EU is the model for other countries, it is also a cautionary tale of the unintended consequences of applying broad regulatory fixes to a rapidly evolving landscape, and the recently proposed Digital Markets Act, which targets platforms, is no exception.

La République En Marche milite pour une régulation forte des réseaux sociaux: Stanislas Guerini : « Nous ne devons pas laisser la seule régulation aux plates-formes numériques » (le Monde). Commentaire par Christophe Leclercq: “Ni les plateformes ni les gouvernements ne doivent décider de ce qui relève des fakes news, mais c’est plutôt la profession journalistique concernant les médias, et des organismes indépendants concernant les GAFA. Étant donné la rapidité nécessaire, il n’est pas possible d’analyser chaque publication avant sa diffusion: il faut établir la crédibilité pour chaque source. A l’avenir, les algorithmes pourraient être influencés par des indicateurs de confiance, à choisir sur un marché compétitif.”

Read more in this Opinion focusing on Trustworthiness Indicators, and react to the Op-ed: ‘’After Trump: Rule of law and Big Tech Regulation’’ by Marc Sundermann, Paolo Cesarini & Christophe Leclercq.


The Stars4Media Second Edition call for initiatives is outdon’t miss this unique opportunity to cooperate with European media, gain skills, innovate your company & test new business models.

Join Stars4Media LinkedIn community to stay up to date with the project’s developments and to share ideas and contacts with media innovators. A new Stars4Media Q&A session will be announced soon!

The Media4Europe Summit took place on March 3rd. The high level policy debate, introduced by a keynote speech from VP Commissioner for Values & Transparency Věra Jourová “Towards a healthy European News Media sector” addressed the needs of the media sector and how it could benefit from the support of private and public funding.  Read the press release and watch the video summary. For information and to submit your


Histoires des médias – Jacques Attali:“Depuis toujours, l’homme a besoin de savoir ce qui le menace, ce qui nuit aux autres ou les sert. Et pendant longtemps, seule une poignée de puissants, souverains, religieux, marchands, ont eu le monopole de l’information, de sa fabrication à sa circulation. Une information libre, diffusée par des médias accessibles à tous et établie par des professionnels cherchant la vérité est le fruit d’une histoire récente, inattendue, fascinante. Et elle est à présent terriblement menacée”.