June Newsletter | Recovery of the media: looking for coordination and coalition

Recovery of the media: looking for coordination and coalition

Under the recent EC joint communication Tackling COVID-19 disinformation – Getting the facts right of June 10th, free and independent media are now recognised as an essential service. However, no progress has been made on a comprehensive Media Action Plan. Foreseen for the fourth quarter, not much time is left to make it a success. Otherwise, it will be diluted into lengthy battles around the Digital Services Act: it would not be an Action Plan anymore! Plus, the negotiations on the multi annual financial framework are getting increasingly bumpy.

A second meeting between the News Media Ecosystem and Commissioner Breton (and VP Jourova, plus Commissioner Gabriel)should be convened urgently. Ideally before the equally overdue second meeting of the Media Project Group of Commissioners. This way, the Action Plan’s main elements can be sketched. Joining statements from the Cultural & Creative sector is good, but not enough: this is a broad area, not really an “ecosystem”. The News Media Ecosystem should come forward with a solid set of requests AND Commitments, and be open to cooperating with the Audiovisual ones. As mentioned by Commissioner Thierry Breton, this is also up to stakeholders themselves.
News Media is under extreme pressure. Not acting now will lead to dramatic consequences. The EC should ask itself if in these challenging times Europe’s democracies can afford a landscape stripped of quality News Media. The answer seems clear. Don’t take quality media for granted!

Marc Sundermann, Senior Fellow Fondation EURACTIV (former EU Representative Bertelsmann)                                      
Christophe Leclercq, Fondation EURACTIV Executive Chair

THINK //  Advocating trust in quality news and recovery funding

Google announced a licensing programme to pay local & national press publishers, helping them to monetise their content. The European Publishers Council and News Media Europe, in welcoming the interest of the company for supporting the news sector, underlined that the EU copyright directive will provide the framework for the licensing of press content, and that Google’s initiative could play a role in strengthening its gatekeeping position. For these reasons, Google must comply with the EU-level Publisher’s Neighbouring Right, which must be implemented by all Member States.
Read more: “Google paying publishers” is more about PR than the needs of the news industry

Coca-Cola suspends social media advertising despite Facebook changes. Coca-Cola suspends advertising on Facebook for at least 30 days, following the #StopHateForProfit campaign, which accuses Facebook of not doing enough to fight disinformation and hate speech on its platform. Coca-Cola actions come after Facebook announced it is going to label potentially harmful and misleading posts.

COVID-19: “We don’t want the crumbs from the Google and Facebook table. We want them to pay their fair share”. The IFJ launched the “IFJ Global Platform for Quality Journalism” to call for concrete steps to save independent journalism during and after the COVID pandemic.

Joint statement from CULT committee, Creative Europe and European Solidarity Corps: “Cuts to Erasmus+, Creative Europe and European Solidarity Corps are “bad news for young people and “send a terrible message to the cultural and creative and media sectors”.

Quel plan de relance européen pour les médias ? Entretien de Christophe Leclercq avec Cosmocène (vidéo): Le premier problème c’est que l’essentiel des ressources des médias est passé sur les plateformes, il s’agit de la publicité et des abonnements, le deuxième c’est le manque d’évolution des médias eux-mêmes. Les médias sont nationaux et il n’y a pas de presse européenne. On a affaire à un monde de nains en face de deux grands géants.”

Disinformation, media pluralism and freedom   

#Disinformation: EFJ calls on EU for rapid support for journalism
The European Federation of Journalists calls on EU Member States to significantly increase the share of Creative Europe’s budget dedicated to journalism: ‘’To have a meaningful impact on supporting journalism, especially non-profit, investigative, and local outlets, the cross-sectoral strand of the budget should be increased tenfold’’.
The members of the Sounding Board (“SB”) of the Multistakeholder Forum on disinformation online are alarmed by the rise in online disinformation during the pandemic and call for much stronger measures to apply to the Platforms that are co-signatories of the Code of Practice (CoP).

“Time to tell the truth”: For the first time, the EU Commission explicitly named China and Russia as the countries behind targeted influence operation and disinformation campaigns in the EU. The EU issued its new joint communication “tackling COVID19 disinformation”, after a similar exercise in December 2019 to safeguard the EU elections.

Reaction by EU disinfo lab: “The task of fact-checking and countering mis—and disinformation should rather be left to independent media, researchers, and civil society. But, sadly, this Joint Communication fails to properly address the support needed for independent media, researchers, and civil society in Europe. Faced with funding cuts and multiple threats, the media, research and civil society ecosystem centred around tackling disinformation is at risk.’’

Read more on this issue:

DO – Innovation and skills for media professionals

Great success of the last Stars4Media call for initiatives
The Stars4Media Pilot Project is supporting innovation in the media sector, through training and cross border cooperation. For its first year, Stars4Media will support 21 innovative partnerships, bridging 100 media professionals from 17 countries.

Out of all beneficiaries, 47% are women, 30% work as journalists, while the rest come from other professional backgrounds such as content marketing, social media management, editing, engineering,  and business. 18% of the total participants are freelancers.
To bring your ideas and get access to relevant innovative training, take part in the community on the Stars4Media LinkedIn Group!
The European Parliament voted the pilot project “Rising Stars” for two years, so that some form of follow-up after Stars4Media year 1 is envisaged.