February Newsletter | Stars4Media & policy context: Media4Europe event

Stars4Media second edition is starting! Preview & policy context: Media4Europe event on March 3rd

Winter is coming, and so is Stars4Media 2nd edition. Following the successful first edition, the exchange programme Stars4Media is entering a second phase. During the next 18 months,185 media professionals will develop 30 cross border collaborative initiatives to test content, formats, services, new business models, and tools. Coached by media experts, they benefit from training on media trends, and implement Initiatives through geographical mobility or virtual cooperation (during 4 months). Stars4Media 2 is supporting media professionals with complementary skills (marketing, journalists, developers), focusing on tech innovation and involving leading media organisations. The Calls for initiatives will be launched on February 15th, 2021 (for early hints, see the first edition’s call).

Stars4Media is implemented by VUB (SMIT-Imec), Europe’s MediaLab (Fondation EURACTIV), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The project is co-funded by the European Commission.

The Media4Europe Summit takes place on Wednesday, March 3rd (9:30 to 13:30), you can register here. It will notably launch Stars4Media Second Edition. The policy debate “Towards a healthy European News Media sector” (12:00-13:30) will bring together representatives from the European Commission, MEPs, media publishers, media associations, technology companies. It will focus on:

  • The EU’s Media Action Plan, in particular, the “NEWS bundle” initiative and the “European News Media Forum”, and the EU’s Democracy Action Plan

  • Digital and technological transformation of the media sector 

  • Solutions to accompany news media capacity to innovate through training programmes, Creative Europe and EU funding supporting news media’s recovery

  • Opportunities for cooperation between national media at European level, around a content sharing platform. This is the focus of the ongoing study for DG CONNECT on platforms for quality content sharing, led by IDATE Digiworld and Europe’s MediaLab, which may inspire major innovation funding.

Join us on March 3rd, or contact us for deeper exchanges:

Marc Sundermann, Director (fondationdirector@euractiv.com)

Christophe Leclercq, Executive Chairman (founder@euractiv.com + 32 2 226 58 13)


The Stars4Media Call for initiatives will be out on February 15th! Whether you have an idea about a cross-border cooperation project, or a well-defined innovative proposal developed with another media organisation, we look forward to hearing from you. To improve your idea, you can benefit from coaching from media experts. For questions, you can contact us at info@stars4media.eu. Stay tuned for more updates by joining the Stars4Media Community on LinkedIn.From the LinkedIn Community:

10 big ideas for newsroom transformation and digital revenue growth, WAN-IFRA

Online Seminar “Trust in media: Audience Engagement & Artificial Intelligence”, EFJ

The European Commission highlighted the Stars4Media project on their Daily News in October 2020 “Liberté et pluralisme des médias : l’UE finance des projets de soutien à la coopération transfrontalière dans le domaine des médias”: 

Věra Jourová, a déclaré: «Ces différentes initiatives permettent à des journalistes des quatre coins de l’Europe d’unir leur talent pour encore mieux nous informer. La Commission est déterminée à accroître son soutien à ce type de projets et à présenter de nouvelles actions, notamment pour améliorer la protection des journalistes, dans le cadre du plan d’action européen pour la démocratie que nous adopterons d’ici la fin de l’année.»

Le commissaire chargé du marché intérieur, Thierry Breton, a ajouté: «Nous défendons sans relâche les médias indépendants et soutenons les initiatives visant à promouvoir la liberté et le pluralisme des médias en Europe. L’effort de la Commission pour aider les médias d’information à se rétablir sera complété par le plan d’action pour les médias et l’audiovisuel qui contribuera à stimuler leur transformation numérique pour le futur.»

JOB OPENING: Don’t miss this opportunity to join a dynamic team and implement inspiring projects for the media sector: Senior Manager communication & projects (media innovation) Europe’s MediaLab (Fondation EURACTIV)Apply by February 19th.

THINK – Regulating tech giants, algorithms & disinformation: boosting visibility of quality content

Faut-il continuer à bannir Donald Trump ? Pour en décider, Facebook se tourne vers son conseil de surveillance (Le Figaro). Le 6 janvier, Facebook a suspendu le compte de Donald Trump pour une durée indéterminée et a soumis cette décision à son conseil de surveillance, un organisme indépendant et chargé de trancher les questions de modération les plus épineuses.

Comment by Christophe Leclercq: “A decision by Facebook’ supervisory body is better than a decision by Mark Zuckerberg. But who appoints the supervisors and with what guidelines? Why up to three months? Even in one week, disinformation on a vast scale can create damage. Which is why the EU code of practice foresees trustworthiness indicators. Did Facebook sign it? Yes. Did it implement it? No. Is self-regulation enough? No. Neither corporates nor government should censor, independent authorities should set moderation parameters”. 

Read more on the Op-Ed ‘’After Trump: Rule of law and Big Tech Regulation’’ by Marc Sundermann, Paolo Cesarini & Christophe Leclercq.

EU countries anticipate DSA & DMA: let’s welcome the moves

Hungary to regulate ‘digital damaging’ of tech giants (EURACTIV)
Antitrust, la Germania pioniera d’Europa: via alla legge sulle big tech (Corriere Comunicazioni)
Brussels eclipsed as EU countries roll out their own tech rules (Politico)

Comment by Marc Sundermann: “Smart move by both the French & German governments: to emulate and pre-empt DSA & DMA provisions, in anticipation of their slow progress. Probably smartening from lengthy talks of the last mandate on the copyright directive: platform lobbying plus EU slowness nearly derailed it, damaged it, and in the end, Google refused to implement it in France until it was condemned by the competition authority. In a move that is analogous to its threat to reduce search services in Australia, if the government insists on royalty fees to publishers…”

Comment by Christophe Leclercq: “Reactions quoted in Politico from few unnamed EU officials seem surprisingly close to what a GAFA delaying tactic would be. The Commission can hardly criticise convergence on its own proposals. Should better thoughts come from national legislators: why not? And should the DSA itself be amended in the next three years before adoption – national laws would, of course, be duly amended. We believe stakeholders should welcome the sense of urgency that starts emerging. Let’s hope the same will happen with the Democracy and Media Action Plans”.

Google’s ‘experiment’ hiding Australian news just shows its inordinate power (The Guardian): Google has decided to hide some Australian news sites from its search results. It is “experimenting” with the lone supply of fact-checked, accountable information Australians can access right now: in some cases news outlets have disappeared altogether. The news comes as the debate between Australian media and “Big Tech” revs up over the proposed news media bargaining code, which would require Google to negotiate a fair price for news content with eligible Australian outlets. Google doesn’t want to pay for news content, on anyone’s terms except its own, and it appears to be manipulating search results to avoid it.

The advertisement revenue tax is yet another step towards a Hungarian-style media capture (Gazeta Wyborcza): In Poland, the government is proposing a new tax which will likely suppress media independence, in yet another step towards a Hungarian-style media capture.

Two relevant public consultations published by the European Commission: