Digital Media Policy Options for Europe, Based on CMDS’ Research

December 3, 2019

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford identified some policy options available for the European Commission and for European Union member states should they wish to create a more enabling environment for independent professional journalism going forward. As they write in their report, What can be done? Digital Media Policy Options for Europe (and beyond), “many of these options are relevant far beyond Europe and demonstrate what democratic digital media policy could look like.”

They argue that, to thrive, independent professional journalism needs freedom, funding, and a future. To enable this, media policy needs to protect journalists and media from threats to their independence and to freedom of expression; to provide a level playing field and support for a sustainable business of news; and to be oriented towards the digital, mobile, and platformdominated future that people are demonstrably embracing, not towards defending the broadcast and print-dominated past.

The report is partly based on research by the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) on media capture.

The four main components of media capture identified by CMDS are regulatory capture, control of public-service media, use of state financing as a control tool, and ownership takeover. The report also quotes our director, Marius Dragomir who in a 2019 report wrote that “these problems are not confined to smaller and poorer countries in Central and Eastern Europe, but exist to varying degrees elsewhere too.”