Dear friend of the media and of Europe’s MediaLab,
Today is the World Press Freedom Day. In Brussels we had the pleasure of attending Difference Day, organised by VUB, ULB, Erasmushogeschool Brussel and Bozar, with EURACTIV among its media partners.
In addition to legal, economic & security challenges, we reflect upon Artificial Intelligence: who will control it? As the ‘media wave’ around ChatGPT & AI is rising, there are many discussions on their potential effects on many levels.
Whether it’s journalists fearing to lose their jobs or publishers fearing losing their revenues, it is clear that a new business approach within the sector is needed. The EU institutions are faster than usual to develop policies around AI: among our selection of relevant news, below, do read about the “AI Act”.
Meanwhile, we couldn’t resist: we tested ChatGPT about a topic of expertise of ours: below you will find a glimpse of our conversation. As you will notice, there is still a high margin of error.
Europe’s MediaLab is also reflecting on its future priorities, beyond the current NEWS and FACTCHECKING programmes. Under the same successful brand Stars4Media, we consider projects regarding trust indicators, regarding media company governance, and concerning UK-French or Eastern European media landscapes.
Some views? Join the Stars4Media LinkedIn Community or contact us directly!
TESTING AI ON OUR TURF
The notion of trust indicators has led to a number of misunderstandings but ChatGPT made no mistake here.
As you can see here, Artificial intelligence still needs some improvement: Europe’s MediaLab is part of neither EBU nor EJC (although MediaLab and EJC are part of the same consortium on Stars4Media-NEWS). The devil is in the details.
The long awaited political agreement on the AI Act was finally reached by the European Parliament. After many discussions on several delicate points – such as general purpose, high risk classification, detecting biases, etc. – the proposal is ready for the plenary in June.
Pressgazette published an exhaustive analysis of the two major competition cases brought against Google in the UK and in the US and their potential consequences for the publishers. While the British class action seeks to recover advertising revenues lost by publishers because of Google’s “market abuse” (more than 40%), the lawsuit brought by DoJ hopes to make Google split up its ad tech business. The two cases are separate but developments and discoveries in one may affect the other.
AI is currently the hot topic of all EU regulators in Brussels but even its definition was one of the most critical points of the AI Act. Now, representatives of the European Parliament’s political groups reached a political agreement.
Georg Emil Riekeles is Associate Director at the European Policy Centre and a former European Commission official. Although his article was published 9 months ago, it’s a clear first-hand account of what happens behind the scenes of such an important piece of legislation which is the DSA.
Ahead of the World Press Freedom Day celebrations, Kelly Walls – executive director of The Guardian Foundation – reflects on the three key elements to save our information system: financial independence, plurality of voices and news literacy. Moreover, she mentions The Kyiv Independent – grant winner of our current Stars4Media – as a good “success story”.
In an unprecedented and surprising move, Italy’s Garante for the protection of personal data mandated a ban on the popular chatbot ChatGPT and accused the AI system of breaching the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and failing to implement age verification systems. Italy has become the first Western country to block advanced chatbot ChatGPT while other EU countries are considering to follow the same path. However the ban was recently restored and the chatbot is accessible again, after OpenAI clarified the issues raised.
Elon Musk makes world headlines again with a letter co-signed with thousands of others demanding a pause in artificial intelligence research. The letter has created a firestorm, after the researchers cited in the letter condemned its use of their work, some signatories were revealed to be fake, and others backed out on their support.
“Media companies must take ChatGPT, the popular language module that can generate well-written—though often factually inaccurate—essays, and other AI developments seriously as a challenge to their business.”
In a resonated interview, the owner of Politico urged focus on investigative journalism and original commentary, as the company prepares for job cuts at German papers Die Welt and Bild.
Another controversial case concerning GAFA: Gaetz, a Trump-aligned Republican, made the comments after a hearing about the so-called “Twitter Files”, alleging that Newsguard drives ad revenue away from certain outlets and toward others deemed more favourable. The case is important as it highlights that Twitter, Facebook, Google and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation requests from every corner of government, from the FBI, the DHS, the HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at State, even the CIA.
Europe’s MediaLab hosted the first in-person consortium meeting of Stars4Media-FACTCHECKING, our EMIF-funded project on sustainability of fact-checking activities in Eastern Europe.
The MediaLab debates focused on challenges caused by fake news and disinformation, especially in light of the war against Ukraine. Contributions from all partners and the representatives of the media involved – Liga media (Ukraine), MediaIQ (Belarus), Kraina project (Belarus) Belarusian Investigative Centre (Belarus) – were highly enriching for all the attendees.
After different sessions taking place at EURACTIV headquarters, the day ended with a community event, hosted by MediaLab’s chairman. Discussing the future of media can be hard, but over the chin-chin ideas come easier!
You can read more about the project meeting on our press release here.
The programme Stars4Media – FACTCHECKING is different from Stars4Media – NEWS, on media innovation. The latter had its consortium meeting in Brussels on 31 March (picture: at VUB).