May Newsletter – Democracy policies in 2019-24: platforms & media

Dear Friend,

This newsletter builds on the election results, confirming major concerns for the EU’s future. Populism has many reasons, it was fed by social media platforms directly, and by the media sector indirectly. We can all help to tackle this worrying drift, more deeply than the disinformation initiatives of the previous mandate. After years of fake news, platforms’ self-regulation and media crisis, this ecosystem must be re-balanced, to promote quality.

Among other digital and media news below, let us highlight two relevant initiatives:
  • #Media4Democracy aims at promoting a new EU ‘top 10’ priority, for a media strategy and platform regulation. Logically, this could be led by a Commission Vice-President for Democracy (OpEd “EU coalition and futureproof media: Europe needs a VP for Democracy” also in FRDE).
  • Europe’s Media Lab: This process includes first an informal gathering of MEPs on  June 4th, aimed at considering a media inter-group at the Parliament. And then end of June a wider policy conference between MEPs, policy-makers and media stakeholders (see the draft programme). These events are held in cooperation with EU40 (gathering young MEPs), in association with a number of NGOs, think tanks and media representatives, and with the support of Equinor.
If you can’t attend the conference, you can debate online using the hashtag #Media4Democracy.
Questions welcome. Merci! Danke!
Christophe Leclercq,


Portfolio for VP Democracy, Media & Platforms

Opinion piece recommending a democracy package for 2019-24

Op-Ed to the next Commission President-nominee: “After years of fake news, platforms’ self-regulation & media crisis, this ecosystem could be rebalanced by a Vice-President for Democracy, Media and Platforms”. 
Read it here: “EU coalition and futureproof media: Europe needs a VP for Democracy” (available in ENFRDE).


What’s next after the EU’s Digital Single Market?

Commission’s recommendations for the EU’s next strategic agenda 2019-2024: “We need to invest in key European digital capacities and work together to boost Europe-made and human-centric artificial intelligence“. Read more here.




“Towards European Media Sovereignty”, by Guillaume Klossa

Guillaume Klossa‘s report “Towards European Media Sovereignty” recommends the creation of an industrial policy for the media sector, 3 new rights for EU citizens (access to data, pluralistic quality information, information distribution algorithms), a European Digital Media Transformation Fund of €1 billion and a dedicated €3 billion R&D programme. In addition, the report envisages regulation based on “interoperability” and new competition rules adapted to platforms with the creation of a European “digital policeman”. Read here the presentation of the report and the Executive Summary.


The new copyright rules: Questions & Answers

How will the copyright Directive concretely support the press and quality journalism? And how do the new copyright rules will protect users and their freedom online?
Read here the fact sheet.



#Media4Democracy Process

• Overview

To rebalance the media/platforms/ads ecosystem and inform about the media sector’s needs, Fondation EURACTIV designed a series of events: Europe’s Media Lab. It is a chance to propose EU priorities by addressing the economic viability of the media sector. This process (see image) starts from general priorities and networking in June, to specific policies in Sept/October, and innovation in November.

Networking event for MEPs, just after the elections – June 4th

On Tuesday June 4th, Fondation EURACTIV, in cooperation with EU40 and Frank Schwalba-Hoth, Fondation EURACTIV is organising a networking event for MEPs at the European Parliament, in order to raise awareness on the central strategic role media policy will play in the new Parliament. Some MEPs may wish to create a new “media inter-group”. MEPs who helped democracy and the media sector will also be recognized. See the draft programme.

Policy Conference – June 24th

The  policy event “#MEDIA4DEMOCRACY: SOUND PLATFORMS & INDEPENDENT MEDIA, will provide input into the priorities to be presented by the President-nominee of the next Commission. The aim of this conference is to help newly elected MEPs to shape a future EU strategy for healthy media, ensuring the media sector’s economic sustainability and support to democracy. See the draft programme.

Workshop before hearings (tbc – September)


Media & Digital News

European election candidates consider next steps for EU media policy

“Lead candidates for the upcoming European elections are pondering ways of safeguarding the media sector’s integrity in light of persistent economic challenges and emerging threats like Russian disinformation”.
Read the article by SamuelStolton on


“The proper functioning of a modern participatory democracy requires that the media be free, active, professional and enquiring” Lord Bingham, 2000

Today, 20 years after this statement, democracy and the media are still faced with serious challenges: a recent study conducted by media expert Agnes Urban and commissioned by Green MEP Gielgold, “shows that 78% of Hungary’s media is under state control.

As Gielgold explained, “the key issue here is of competition […] We need to do away with these oligopolistic media structures.” Read The Brief – Europe’s ‘free’ media by Samuel Stolton.
Would you like to know more about this issue?
Download the RSF’s recommendations: “10 proposals to better protect press freedom in Europe”.


Calling all those interested in EU politics & tech: EURACTIV has a new, free weekly newsletter. Get the inside scoop on Copyright, 5G, Data Protection, Media Freedom, AI, Cybersecurity and more. Sign up for Digital Brief now!


A digital tax could lead platforms towards healthier business models

“Instead of banning the current business model — in which platform companies harvest user information to sell targeted digital ads — new legislation could establish a tax that would encourage platform companies to shift toward a healthier, more traditional model. The tax […] would be applied to revenue from sales of targeted digital ads, which are the key to the operation of Facebook, Google and the like”. Read Paul Romer’s Opinion published on The New York Times.


Transparency on platforms’ lobbying

The NGO Open Democracy did some ‘investigative journalism’ on the High Level Expert Group on disinformation. Fondation EURACTIV was a member, its founder is not quoted in that article, but has this comment: As for more transparency on funding, we would welcome it, like always. I signed the HLEG confidentiality clause cautiously:  ‘subject to editorial independence’ and I am no more bound by it; but I will remain constructive: we achieve a good report, it’s follow-up that is weak and slow.  On policy substance: it is true that platforms used hard tactics to water down reference to competition policy, but a mention of it as recourse after self-regulation remains – unfortunately not yet implemented by the EU Commission itself. Re-opening EU policy priorities after elections is a good time to do it, also for media sector strategy reasons. Quite a few stakeholders would recommend a ‘sector enquiry’ on the ecosystem media/platforms/advertising: this could be done without waiting for the next Commission team‘.

Other Fondation’s activities

Difference Day, May 3

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Bozar together with VUB and ULB organised the Difference Day, focused on ‘Who controls the truth?’. Alan Rusbriger (former Editor of the Guardian), argued: ”What is that public interest that journalism serve? And what are the business models that will allow it? We must take into account that people increasingly see news as a public good.”


Electoral Debate with French candidates, April 2

On April 2, Fondation EURACTIV and LesFrancais.pressorganised the electoral forum: Débat des candidats français de l’étranger pour les élections européennes. It gathered about 150 participants and 6 key speakers, and it was moderated by Christophe Leclercq. The debate was broadcast on La French Radio and reached over 6000 people. Read the article about this event.


This Month’s Insight

Values & Knowledge: two irreconcilable worlds for fact-checking

Fact-checking can’t do much when people’s “dueling facts” are driven by values instead of knowledge (Nieman Lab): “Values not only shape what people see, but they also structure what people look for in the first place. Those with extreme value commitments are much more certain than others that their perceptions are correct. […] Fact-checking tends to fall flat.”


EURACTIV Values & Network

EURACTIV Media Network provides free localised EU policy news in 12 languages. It is based onfive key values, also shared with Fondation EURACTIV:
Pro-European, media independence, transparency, efficiency, and multilingualism.
Watch the video to learn more about our values and network in Europe.

Thanks for reading. If you have feedback or tips, send us an email: | |
Follow us: @FondEURACTIV and @LeclercqEU using #Media4Democracy and #Media4EU.

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