Media pluralism in Europe: new study shows risks across the board

According to an independent study by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, there has been a general stagnation or deterioration in terms of risks to media pluralism across all countries covered – the 27 EU member states plus the UK, Albania, and Turkey.

The study, for the first time taking into account the impact of digital developments, looks at physical and digital threats and attacks on journalists, their working conditions but also issues such as market plurality, political independence and social inclusiveness.

The country report on Bulgaria said that the results of the MPM2020 indicate significant risks to media pluralism in the country.

The report said that there is a noticeable risk in three of the four areas: Market Plurality (78 per cent), Social Inclusiveness (74 per cent) and Political Independence (67 per cent).

Basic Protection area is at a medium level of risk (45 per cent).

The trends point towards a deterioration in the overall risk to media pluralism in Bulgaria. The highest individual levels of risks are identified with regard to independence of public service media governance and funding, online platforms concentration and competition enforcement, commercial and owners’ influence over editorial content, and news media concentration.

There is a significant reduction in risk in the area of media literacy (66 per cent). This is due to a series of effective NGO initiatives, the Bulgaria country report said.

European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency,Věra Jourová, said: “This study is a wake-up call.

“We need to better protect journalists and to increase transparency and fairness in the online world, especially in the context of political campaigning.

“We also need to support the media sector, which has been heavily hit by the Covid-19 crisis, while respecting its independence,” Jourová said.

“The Commission can’t win this fight alone: I rely on member states to help reverse this trend”.

European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “The Media Pluralism Monitor highlights the opportunities brought by digital transformation, which media must seize, but also challenges – from the potential gatekeeping role of online platforms to the digital safety of journalists and media workers.

“As the coronavirus crisis further accelerates these trends, we will tackle them in a holistic way to foster the recovery of the media ecosystem.”

The Media Pluralism Monitor is co-funded by the EU, as part of a series of projects to support media pluralism and freedom, the Commission said.

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