Newsletter: Call for “Philanthropy for Journalism” to secure our democracies watchdog
The structural changes of the media sector due to digitisation as well as the decrease in advertising revenues is hitting the commercial media industry hard and is exposing market failure that require interventions to correct. As a consequence, we experience across Europe media concentration, increased risk of media capture, reduced media coverage, and increasingly difficult working conditions for journalists. This has a negative impact on the quantity and quality of public interest journalism, including investigative journalism, the “watchdog” in our democratic societies, while disinformation is rising. Furthermore, communities that have long been excluded from or badly covered by the established media are at risk of further marginalisation.
Since for-profit journalism is under pressure for the above-mentioned reasons, non-profit journalism is experiencing a proliferation at the global level. This thanks to philanthropic funders and non-profit organisations committed to actively support the fourth pillar of democracy, including ensuring its editorial independence.
Non-profit media organisations and public interest journalism are evolving into distinct and new, hybrid media sectors. They have public interest as their core purpose, complementing the for-profit media market in areas where there are gaps and market failures, and are more disposed to find common purpose with civil society. Research shows that, in jurisdictions where non-profit and charitable journalism is enabled and given legal certainty by law, more public interest-oriented journalism organisations are created, and more philanthropic funds are dedicated to supporting public interest media that contribute considerable public benefit and social value.
Philanthropy can be defined as “private resources for public good”. These resources are not limited to funding, but do also entail knowledge and expertise, expert networks across geographies and convening power. With its ability to fund short term projects, such as investigative and local journalism, provide long-term funding to sustain media organisations and to act quickly in emergency situations, such as supporting journalists in exile (i.e. JX Fund). Philanthropy is also increasingly part of co-funding approaches (i.e. Civitates), including public private partnerships, and as impact investor (i.e. Pluralis). Philea’s Journalism Funders Forum is the place for European philanthropy to coordinate collaboration around journalism funding.
This is why the media landscape in Europe, the underlying “fabric” of our democracy, needs to be sustained and the three “fibres” of this “fabric” – public media, private media and non-profit media – need to be innovated and strengthened.
The ability to attract philanthropic and other donor funding can work to attract and de-risk other forms of financing, especially for a fragile sector, for which more traditional financing and lending institutions have few benchmarks, and for which little R&D or innovation financing exists.
A “philanthropy for journalism” movement, in analogy to the successful #PhilanthropyForClimate movement (www.philanthropyforclimate.org), would accelerate the momentum needed to sustain European media and public-interest journalism. By opening up new financing channels beyond the business models that have been common up to now, the critical and control function of journalism would thus be strengthened and public opinion-forming in democracy would thus be revived.
By Max von Abendroth (former Executive Director of Dafne, the European umbrella organisation of donors and foundations)
Note: Europe’s MediaLab (Foundation EURACTIV) is a non profit foundation under Belgian law, member of FBFP (Fédération Belge des Fondations Philanthropiques) It is not grant-giving, apart from initiating Stars4Media
DO: Apply & Participate
ECPMF opens call for applications from Ukraine for the Journalists-in-Residence Programme in Kosovo (European Centre for Press and Media Freedom)
The JiR Kosovo Programme is financed by the Government of Republic of Kosovo and enables 20 individual Ukrainian journalists and media workers to relocate to Kosovo for a period of up to six months with the possibility of extension depending on the developments in Ukraine.
Europe’s MediaLab is participating at three relevant policy events:
The purpose of the Club is to promote effective government communication at national and European level and to ensure the best possible exchange of best practice in information and communication. The next two meetings are for members only, but feed other reading initiatives. Both take place in Florence (European University Institute), on the 30th of June and 1st July.
On 13 and 14 June the European Digital Media Observatory will hold its Annual Conference in Brussels. Reaching its second year of activities, this conference is an opportunity to explore what the Observatory has done so far.Christophe Leclercq will address Ukraine and Russian (exile) media ventures.
Christophe Leclercq is a member, alongside mostly academics and media representatives. EDMO triggeres and provides independence guidelines for EMIF (European Media and Information Fund) .
European Media Freedom Act:
Christophe Leclercq notes: “Positions from stakeholders on EMFA are largely converging. For example, our MediaLab supports trustworthiness indicators such as what is proposed by RSF under Trust Initiative. Actually, using such input into algorithms was committed by gatekeeper platforms 4 years ago, and is still not done…One nuance with some others: in our EMFA consultation reply, we note that some sector consolidation may be required and that it can promote diversity in the case of cross-border cooperations or mergers. In any case, transparency of ownership is essential.There were more foreign investors in Central Europe around EU enlargement, before the current oligarchs’ era, and press freedom was better then. The press is like an army of dwarfs fighting a duopoly of giants: it clearly requires greater scale and innovation.”
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the European Commission, which is drafting a European Media Freedom Act (EMFA), to be ambitious in its efforts to safeguard and ensure respect for this fundamental freedom at a time when it faces increased threats and unprecedented challenges in Europe.
2021 World Press Freedom Index: Journalism, the vaccine against disinformation, blocked in more than 130 countries
The European Commission must take an ambitious approach to the upcoming European Media Freedom Act and consult civil society leaders and industry experts, five journalism organisations write in an open letter.
Le Classement mondial de la liberté de la presse, qui évalue les conditions d’exercice du journalisme dans 180 pays et territoires, démontre en 2022 les effets désastreux du chaos informationnel (un espace numérique globalisé et dérégulé, qui favorise les fausses informations et la propagande).
Press freedom in the Netherlands dropped significantly compared to last year due to attacks on the press, according to Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index, which lowered the country’s ranking from sixth to 28th.
Estonia and Lithuania were among the top ten best states for press freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index published Tuesday.
A bill that would have legally empowered the UK’s new tech regulator was notably absent from today’s presentation of the government’s annual legislative agenda.
The report by the European Digital Media Observatory’s (EDMO) Working Group on Platform-to-Researcher Data Access includes a draft Code of Conduct on how platforms can share data with independent researchers while protecting users’ rights.
The French presidency of the EU Council has made a series of proposals regarding the enforcement of the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act, in a new compromise text seen by EURACTIV.
The European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) does not support the Council’s position on network contribution because making big tech firms pay does not follow the principle of net neutrality..
Microsoft will adapt its licensing conditions in response to complaints from cloud providers and the rumblings of a competition investigation from the European Commission.
Content sharing and data sharing to improve media competitiveness:
Europe’s MediaLab is working on the second phase of Strategy Project, with consortium partners Intellera Consulting (ex PWC Italy), Carsa, KU Leuven (Institute for Media Studies) , KU Leuven (Centre for IT and IP Law) . The first phase of these Pilot Projects, on content sharing, was implemented by IDATE DigiWorld and Europe’s MediaLab working, plus experts Francine Cunningham (Bird&Bird), Gian-Paolo Accardo (Voxeurop) and MediaLab’s Senior Fellow, Daniel Knapp. The aim of these studies is to test and analyse the viability of creating a European online platform(s) to better distribute news content.
The forthcoming set of broader EU cybersecurity requirements could hit obstacles in the form of insufficient financial and staff capacities, prompting fears in the Czech Republic that they could create new headaches, particularly for private companies.
A surprising number of websites are collecting some or all of your data as you type it into a digital form.
Representatives of the frequently targeted energy industry are more concerned about the risk of cyberattacks than before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a new global risk report has found.
EU recovery funds may help Czechia fix its broadband connection costs and its lacking digitally qualified personnel.
Les rédactions doivent aider les femmes journalistes victimes de cyberviolences. Voici comment. (International Center for Journalists)
Les rédactions doivent faire davantage pour protéger les femmes journalistes victimes de cyberviolences, selon une nouvelle étude publiée par l’ICFJ et l’UNESCO à l’occasion de la Journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse.
THINK: Russia and Ukraine
Alongside the war on the ground, a different kind of war has taken place in the cyber space – an information war. In this study we examine hundreds of disinfo outlets that continue to publish and amplify propaganda, as advertisers are caught in the crossfire.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has been at the centre of the ongoing Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in Paris, on which the EU and the US gave a second update on Monday (16 May)
Based on the success and lessons learned from the first and second regional conferences on disinformation, organised by the RCC – Regional Cooperation Council in cooperation with the OBC Transeuropa and the EU Centre of Excellence (CoE), the Third Regional Conference will seek to provide both the theoretical and practical skills to youth form the WB, and in particular students of journalism and communications
The European Commission warned European media not to give airtime or importance to Russian propaganda following a contentious interview with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Italian media.
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