Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Independent Study on Indicators for Media Pluralism

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A monitoring tool for assessing risks for media pluralism in the EU Member States.
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Objectives of the study

This study develops a monitoring tool for assessing risks for media pluralism in the EU Member States and identifying threats to such pluralism based on a set of indicators, covering pertinent legal, economic and socio-cultural considerations.

The research team

It has been carried out by a group of three academic institutes, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven  – ICRI, Central European University – CMCS and Jönköping International Business School – MMTC, together with a consultancy firm,  Ernst & Young Belgium. This group of experts has been supported by subcontractors: non-affiliated members of the research team, members of the Quality Control Team and members of the network of local media experts (‘Country Correspondents’).

How it works

The Media Pluralism Monitor (or MPM) is designed to identify potential risks to media pluralism in Member States. The monitoring and its implementation processes are based on several important principles and elements:

  • It adopts a broad notion of media pluralism. In mature democracies media pluralism encompasses political, cultural, geographical, structural and content related dimensions.
  • It recognises that all types of media – public service, commercial and community media – play important roles in creating pluralism and that a wide range of media types and channels/titles are important for providing pluralism. At the same time, it also recognises different policies and regulatory approaches toward certain types of media (e.g. broadcasting, print and new media) and such distinctions are reflected in the indicators.
  • The Media Pluralism Monitor is designed as a diagnostic tool for obtaining a broad understanding of risks to media pluralism in a Member State, but does not set policy responses.
  • It uses a broad range of indicators to identify risk across six domains. The risk outcomes should be considered as a whole – elevating some domains or indicators or diminishing others would skew the assessment of the reported risks.
  • This assessment is best carried out in a transparent manner in consultation with stakeholders.

Outputs of the study

  • The Final Report describes the approach and method used to design these indicators and their integration into a risk-based framework. It contains no policy recommendation as such.  Please note that chapter 8 summarises feedback from the stakeholder workshop and explains how the consultants included pertinent points in the final report.  It contains the following annexes:
  • The User Guide: explains how the Monitor can be applied in practice (how to install the MPM software, how to calculate indicator scores, how to interpret the resulting risk profiles, etc.).
  • The Media Pluralism Monitor: an Excel file containing the indicators embedded in a risk-based scoring system.

The Project

  • The European Parliament decided to earmark EUR 500,000 from the 2013 EU budget for a pilot implementation of the Media Pluralism Monitor tool.
  • The European Commission awarded subsequently a grant to the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the European University Institute for the implementation of the Pilot Project (Press release).
  • This action also follows one of the recommendations made by the High-Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism.
  • The CMPF, acting independently from the Commission and Member States, selected a representative sample of 9 Member States to be assessed during the pilot phase on the basis of:
    • typology of media and political systems;
    • geographical criteria;
    • Media media market size (including population and territory);
    • existing political assessments of the level of media freedom and pluralism (December 2013 Press release).