#NEWSOCRACY conference sends clear messages, signals new directions and proposes 'persuasive' recommendations

Around 80 participants from all over Europe gathered at the #Newsocracy conference of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the Plataforma en Defensa de la Libertad de Información (PDLI) and the Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT) in Madrid on January 30, 2018 to discuss media ownership concentration and media pluralism in Europe.

Impressions from Madrid – #NEWSOCRACY conference on media ownership Silvia Chocarro (Ifex) at Newsocracy

In the grand finale Tarlach McGonagle from the University of Amsterdam presented 'persuasive' recommendations from the expert panellists to the Council of Europe. They are still awaiting implementation. The European media landscape needs:

– a favourable environment for freedom of expression and media freedom
– media pluralism and diversity of media content
– regulation of media ownership, control of concentration
– transparency of media ownership, organisation and financing 
– media literacy and education

There was a unanimous call for better regulation as the global media market has undergone fundamental changes: "The game has changed, the ethics have eroded, the competition is concentrated, regulation is not enforced," said Bulgarian speaker Ivo Prokopiev, co-owner of the Eonomedia Publishing Group. "The media ecosystem needs to be restored."

"Journalism is a public good, We have to make good journalism possible. And I hope in a couple of years we will have a standardised model for monitoring media ownership," said Lutz Kinkel, ECPMF's Managing Director, in his farewell.

Netopia Lutz Kinkel

High-powered panels of media experts, journalists and activists presented new business models, innovative ways of financing media outlets, and new journalistic formats as well as tools for investigating media ownership. Several versions of online and offline databases were introduced. Meanwhile state funding of media was strongly criticised: "The most funded countries in the EU are the least free," said Prokopiev asking for a better control by the European Union. "When state support mechanisms are devised it's important that also they are reviewed," added Tarlach McGonagle.

The conference started with the alarming fact that in two-thirds of European countries, fewer than four owners hold 80 per cent of the media. (Media Pluralism Monitor). #NEWSOCRACY ended with the positive sense that everyone is already rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Finally, as a hopeful outlook into the future, the ECPMF awarded the winner of its Young Writers competition "1000 words": Saskia Solomon from the UK convinced the jury by answering the question "Should we be free to hate?" with her powerful essay.

For more information or press enquiries please contact Sophie Albers Ben Chamo

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