Securing an independent and transparent media sector across Europe

December 13, 2022

GTIPA members I-Com the Institute for Competitiveness (Italy) and IOBE the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (Greece) in cooperation with other think-tanks carried out a joint paper on the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA). The paper touches upon the economic impact of the media industry, the recent trends in media freedom and pluralism, the geopolitics of technology and its nexus with media freedom and pluralism, and media regulation in Europe with a view from Southern Europe.

Chapter 1 examined the overall economic footprint of the activities of the media industry in four Southern European countries: Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain utilizing Eurostat data. Advertising led the sector’s total turnover and employment in Greece during 2019, while important seem the publishing activities, television and broadcast activities, motion picture, video and television program activities and data processing, hosting and related activities.

Chapter 2 takes stock of the present state of media freedom, plurality and independence in the four countries involved (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain) and provides some pointers as to whether the measures foreseen in the draft Media Freedom Act address the structural and evolving weaknesses of the media sector in these countries. We draw on a large variety of sources and measures of many different dimensions of media freedom, offering comparisons between the four countries and with a European Union benchmark.

Chapter 3 recognized that media freedom and pluralism are a prominent topic in the nascent geopolitics of technology: the waves of hate speech in the media, the guarantee of the right to information and the right to avoid disinformation and misinformation, the protection and empowerment of journalistic profession, and the inference from both governments -authoritarian and illiberal ones- as well as some private companies in the respect for media freedom and pluralism.

Chapter 4 presents an overview of the evolution of the European media regulation and recent developments. The analysis is made up of three main parts: (i) an analysis of the European legal framework in the media field before the EMFA, (ii) a comparison with foreign media regulations – especially those enacted in Florida and Texas – and case-law; (iii) an assessment of the challenges and opportunities that are likely to arise from the EMFA in the current ever-growing “phygital” world.

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