It confirms, once more, that no EU Member State is free from threats to media freedom and pluralism. In particular, the report points out a general stagnation or deterioration in terms of risks to media pluralism across the countries, and in all of the areas covered. It also shows that the digital revolution has not improved the situation in terms of media pluralism: digital risks are not lower than traditional risks; it is their nature that changes, and may be more challenging to tackle with, given the global reach of companies dominating digital markets. Results from the monitoring also draw attention to both physical and digital threats and attacks on journalists in some countries monitored, as well as to the deteriorating working conditions of journalists.
Like previous reports, the Media Pluralism Monitor 2020 report is structured around four main areas: basic protection, market plurality, political independence, and social inclusiveness. As an upgrade, in this version of the report, several new variables related to the digital transformation have been integrated in order to obtain a balanced and updated view of the reality of the present media landscapes in the EU and in selected other countries.
A follow-up of the 2020 Media Pluralism Monitor is planned for 2021. The report’s findings will feed into the Commission’s strategic actions on media pluralism and freedom, to be set out in the European Democracy Action Plan and in the Media and Audiovisual Action Plan.
The Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) is a scientific tool designed to identify potential risks to media pluralism. Since 2013, the Media Pluralism Monitor tool has been applied (with accompanying reports), on a regular basis, by the independent Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom. This is done with a comprehensive approach, taking into account legal, political, and economic variables that are relevant to analysing the levels of plurality of media systems in a democratic society. The monitoring tool is applied by teams of experts in each country.
Since 2016 the monitoring tool has been applied to analyse media pluralism and freedom in all EU Member States, as well as selected non-EU countries. The indicators used are based on a European Commission funded study published in 2009. The European Union is now funding projects to adapt and refine the tool to new realities.
As regards support for the current monitoring tool and accompanying report, in 2018 the European Parliament earmarked a budget of €750,000 aimed at adapting the Media Pluralism Monitor to the digital environment. The European Commission awarded a grant to the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom at the European University Institute to carry out this work.
In 2019, the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom conducted a study on the indicators required to assess risks to information pluralism in the digital age. It later implemented this current iteration of the Media Pluralism Monitoring tool (MPM2020) in the EU Member States, as well as in the UK, Albania, and Turkey, and covered the years 2018 and 2019. An accompanying report was issued, published 23 July 2020.