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Study on media plurality and diversity online

The objective of the study is to map existing legislative measures and make policy recommendations for European policymakers and Member States to safeguard media pluralism and diversity.

Study on media plurality and diversity online - Final report

Study on media plurality and diversity online - Annexes

After outlining the value of safeguarding media pluralism and diversity to the Member States and the EU, as well as the relevant competences, the study focuses on two, partly interrelated topics:

  1. Prominence and findability/discoverability of general interest content and services

The study maps legislative measures and industry practices related to the prominence and findability of general interest content and services in addition to assessing the effectiveness of such measures. The study found that content and services with increased prominence can have an impact on exposure diversity and media pluralism. However, assessing the real-life impact that the current industry measures on content prioritisation may have on media pluralism and on users’ exposure to media diversity is challenging. The reasons are linked to the use of algorithm-driven content recommendations and the sheer lack of access to data. The study then proposes and discusses policy options and recommendations on how to develop transparent and accountable prominence regimes.

  1. Measures concerning the concentration of economic resources to ensure media plurality online

After presenting the various national rules, for example, on media ownership and the public incentives to media pluralism, the study discusses the distribution of advertising revenues, which are increasingly shifting to the digital world. It also analyses access to and use of consumer data, which is found to be highly imbalanced in favour of major platforms. The study then assesses the effectiveness of the measures and methods relating to market concentration in national media sectors. It also offers methodologies for measuring media plurality, stressing the need for publicly available data, as well as options for policy interventions, including EU interventions based on Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Expected use of the results

The study helps the Commission, Member States and national regulators to analyse media plurality and diversity issues and assess the suitability of current national and EU-level media-specific rules to safeguard media plurality and diversity. The findings are particularly relevant for the implementation of the current EU media laws, while highlighting issues and potential areas in the media sector that may need sectoral intervention. These considerations have been taken into account in preparation of the European Media Freedom Act.

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