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Monitoring media pluralism in the digital era

The Media Pluralism Monitor is a scientific tool designed to identify potential risks to media pluralism.

The Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) has been adapted and modernised to take into account the manner in which digital developments impact media pluralism across Europe. The MPM will serve as a key source of information for the media freedom angle of the forthcoming first annual rule of law report, scheduled for publication in September 2020.

The Media Pluralism Monitor

The MPM assesses the risks faced by media pluralism based on a set of 25 key indicators under 4 different areas:

  1. basic protection
  2. market plurality
  3. political independence
  4. social inclusiveness.

The indicators address legal, economic and socio-political questions. Public service, commercial and community media are all covered by the monitor,

The MPM is a diagnostic tool designed to provide a broad understanding of the risks to media pluralism in a Member State. Assessments are carried out in an independent and transparent manner in consultation with media experts in each country.

The MPM recognises that different policies and regulatory approaches may apply to different types of media whether broadcasting, print or digital media. Following its upgrade in 2018 it also looks at the impact of digital platforms. 

Monitoring media pluralism in the digital era – MPM2021

In 2019, the European Parliament earmarked a budget of €1,000,000 geared at fine-tuning MPM2020 and on ensuring  its continued implementation.  The European Commission awarded a grant to the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the European University Institute. The new grant started on 1 March 2020.

Monitoring media pluralism in the digital era – MPM2020

The European Parliament earmarked a budget of €750,000 in 2018. This budget was geared at adapting the MPM to the digital environment and ensuring its implementation.  To this effect, the European Commission awarded a grant to the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the European University Institute.

In 2019, the CMPF conducted a study on the indicators required to assess risks to information pluralism in the digital age. It later implemented this in MPM2020 across the EU Member States and in two candidate countries, covering the years 2018 and 2019. The results of MPM2020 can be accessed here.

Background

The original study

The Media Pluralism Monitor stems from an initial study from 2009 carried out by a group of 3 academic institutes: ICRI, Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenCMCS (Central European University) and MMTC (Jönköping International Business School) - in cooperation with Ernst & Young Belgium. The study developed a monitoring tool for assessing risks to media pluralism in the EU Member States based on a stable set of indicators.

MPM simplification and test – phase 1

  • In 2013 the European Parliament earmarked a budget of €500,000 for the simplification and pilot implementation of the MPM;
  • 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;
  • The first year of this action was split into two streams, one focusing on simplification, one on testing of 9 Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy and the UK);
  • The CMPF selected these 9 countries on the basis of:
    • typology of media and political systems;
    • geographical criteria;
    • media market size (including population and territory);
    • existing political assessments of the level of media freedom and pluralism.
  • The final report of the first phase was published in January 2015.

MPM simplification and test – phase 2

  • In 2014, the European Parliament earmarked another budget of €500,000 for the continuation of the testing in a complementary manner to the previous one.
  • During this second phase of the project, starting from November 2014, the CMPF assessed the viability and relevance of the indicators. It tested them in the 19 EU countries that were not covered during the 1st pilot phase (Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden).
  • The results are available here.

MPM – phase 3

A grant of €500,000 was awarded in 2016 to continue the assessment of risks to media pluralism. It was awarded in the context of a preparatory action supported by the European Parliament. 

During this third phase, also performed by the CMPF, the project's researchers assessed risks in all EU Member States, as well as in two candidate countries: Turkey and Montenegro. The results of this round are available here.

MPM – phase 4

The Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the European University Institute implemented the Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) across all EU Member states in 2017, as well as in Serbia and what was then FYROM (today North Macedonia).

To this effect, a budget of €350,000 has been awarded for a preparatory action supported by the European Parliament. The results of the 2017 exercise were published in 2018 and are available here.

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