National expert roundtable on media policy in Slovakia

Credits: yuheitomi/Creative Commons

Phase I

Media policies and regulatory practices in a selected set of European countries, malady the European Union and the Council of Europe

A comprehensive collective report discussing media policy and regulation in 14 European countries was produced in the context of the MEDIADEM project. The report discusses the configuration of the media landscape in the countries under study, explores the main regulatory instruments used to govern the media, and assesses the implications of the policies conducted for democratic politics.

The report also contains an analysis of the media-related activities of the European Union and the Council of Europe, focusing on the interventions that are relevant for the protection and promotion of media freedom and independence.

You may download the collective report here. Individual chapters are also available in pdf format: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Spain (also available in Spanish), Turkey, the UK, EU/CoE.

The formation and implementation of national media policies in Europe and their relationship to democratic society and media freedom and independence: A theoretical and analytical frame for the MEDIADEM project

A theoretical report clarifying basic concepts and analytical issues upon which MEDIADEM research is based and pursued was produced. The report conceptualises media policy in an increasingly converged and integrated media environment, and discusses its relationship to democracy, as well as its nature, scope, making and implementation. The report further explores the concept of media freedom and independence, which is identified as a distinct area for the study of media policy, and examines present practice and potential of regulation in the field. The report is available here.

Phase II

Case study reports – Does media policy promote media freedom and independence?

14 case study reports discussing the policy processes and the regulatory tools that have a bearing on the development of free and independent media in the countries covered by the MEDIADEM project have been issued. The case study reports engage in an empirical study of the institutional dynamics of media policy-making in the countries under review. They also examine the regulatory framework governing the media, investigating whether the domestic rules, as enacted and implemented, facilitate the development of free and independent media. The methodology employed for the case study reports combines an examination of primary resources, secondary literature and semi-structured interviews with policy-makers, journalists and independent media regulators, amongst others.

In more detail, the reports:

  • Identify the institutional structures and the actors involved in media policy formulation and implementation, inquiring into the values that guide their activities, in particular freedom of expression and the right to information;
  • Investigate the formulation and implementation of the legal rules concerned with the configuration of the media market and the diversification of media content;
  • Examine journalists’ professional practices and autonomy;
  • Explore the media literacy initiatives adopted at a state and non-state level, the degree to which they are underpinned by freedom of expression and information standards, and media transparency.

You may download the case study reports in pdf format: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia (also available in Slovakian), Spain, Turkey, and the UK.

Phase III

Comparative reports – Similarities and differences across the MEDIADEM countries

A collection of reports, entitled Media freedom and independence in 14 European countries: A comparative perspective, has just been published. The reports focus on a comparative analysis of the most pertinent questions and key issue areas for media freedom and independence across the MEDIADEM countries. Based on the project’s empirical research, these reports examine and analyse the contribution (or not) of different media policy patterns to the promotion of free and independent media. The reports address:

a) the freedom and independence of public service media in the MEDIADEM countries;

b) the relationship between politics and the media in five Eastern European countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Romania and Slovakia;

c) trends and policy approaches pertaining to new media services in the MEDIADEM countries;

d) the professional autonomy in journalism as a factor for safeguarding freedom of expression in the MEDIADEM countries; and

e) the role of the European courts in shaping media policies in the MEDIADEM countries.

MEDIADEM’s comparative output also comprises a report entitled The regulatory quest for free and independent media. This report examines the different forms of media regulation currently in place in the fourteen countries covered by the MEDIADEM project with a view to identifying common patterns, best practices and emerging problems. The report adopts an integrated notion of media, including digital media, and examines: a) different levels of regulation (national and European regulatory processes, stemming from both the European Union and the Council of Europe); and b) various forms of regulation (public and private regulation, hybrids thereof, and multiple institutional and governance arrangements).

Phase IV

Media policy development: Policy suggestions for the promotion of media freedom and independence

The fourth stage of the project involves the formulation of policy guidelines for the promotion of free and independent media on the basis of the project’s findings. These address state and non-state actors involved in media policy?making, the European Union and the Council of Europe. Our policy recommendations take the form of a collective policy report and three policy briefs forming part of MEDIADEM’s policy brief series.

- The collective policy report addressing state and non-state actors involved in the design and implementation of media policies supportive of media freedom and independence, the European Union and the Council of Europe  comprises policy papers with recommendations for the promotion of media freedom and independence in the 14 MEDIADEM countries. In addition, it formulates policy recommendations addressing the Council of Europe and the European Union and offers a regulatory matrix that provides an overview of the regulatory systems at work in the 14 countries under study. The collective report is available here (in English). The policy paper concerning the Council of Europe and the European Union including the regulatory matrix is also available individually here.

- The policy papers for the promotion of media freedom and independence in the 14 countries covered by the MEDIADEM project are also available in the official language(s) of the countries concerned. In addition to the recommendations targeting national media policy-makers and other stakeholders, these policy papers include a succinct summary of the project’s recommendations for the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe with a view to encouraging the sharing of results and strengthening communication among national and European policy actors.

Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Belgium (in Dutch);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Belgium (in French);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Bulgaria (in Bulgarian);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Croatia (in Croatian);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Denmark (in Danish);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Estonia (in Estonian);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Finland (in Finish);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Germany (in German);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Greece (in Greek);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Italy (in Italian);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Romania (in Romanian);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Slovakia (in Slovakian);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Spain (in Spanish);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in Turkey (in Turkish);
Policy suggestions for free and independent media in the United Kingdom (in English).

MEDIADEM’s policy brief series presently comprises:

- The first MEDIADEM policy brief, which contains key observations on how to understand ‘free and independent’ media and puts together broad policy recommendations for their promotion (June 2011). Available in English (also at the Research and Innovation – SSH website of the European Commission) and Greek.

- The second MEDIADEM policy brief, which identifies the main constraints or threats to the operation of free and independent media in the 14 countries under study and makes specific recommendations as to how these concerns might be addressed in practice by the various stakeholders (September 2012). Available here and at the Research and Innovation – SSH website of the European Commission.

Other publications

Understanding media policies: A European perspective

Edited by E. Psychogiopoulou, the book, entitled ‘Understanding media policies: A European perspective’, inquires into the formulation of contemporary European media policies and the factors and conditions that affect their making. Combining a country-based study in 14 countries with a comparative analysis across various types of media services, the volume explores how media policies are understood, negotiated and applied, testifying to the array of policy approaches and regulatory practices established to govern the media.

Contents:

List of Tables and Figures
Acknowledgements
Notes on Contributors
Recasting the Contours of Media Policy in a Political Context: An Introduction; E. Psychogiopoulou & D. Anagnostou
Media Policy in Belgium: How a Complex Institutional System Deals with Technological Developments; B. Van Besien & P-F. Docquir
Democracy and the Media in Bulgaria: Who Represents the People?; R. Smilova, D. Smilov & G. Ganev
Croatia: A Dynamic Evolvement of Media Policy; P. Bili? & N. Švob-?oki?
Danish Media Policy; H. Søndergaard & R. Helles
Media Policy in Estonia: Small Market Paradoxes; U. Loit & H. Harro-Loit
Finnish Media Policy: Less Restrictive, More Directive; H. Kuutti, E. Lauk, P. Nevalainen & R. Sokka
Media Policy in Germany: Main Features and Current Issues; S. Müller & C. Gusy
The Greek Media Policy Revisited; E. Psychogiopoulou, A. Kandyla & D. Anagnostou
Italian Media Policy Under On-going Transition to Meet the Challenges of the Twenty-first Century; F. Casarosa
Struggling with Media Capture: Romania; A. Mungiu-Pippidi & C. Ghinea
Slovakia: Reinventing Media Policy without a Practical Perspective; A. Školkay & M. Hong
Media Policy in Spain: Public Service, Free Competition and some Internal Diversity; S. de la Sierra, E. Guichot, M. Mantini & I. Sobrino
Turkish Media Policy in National Context; D. Kurban & E. Elmas
Media Policy in the United Kingdom: Trust and Distrust in a Converging Media Environment; R. Craufurd Smith & Y. Stolte
Serving Two Masters: The Roles of the Market and European Politics in the Governance of Media Transformations; K. Sarikakis
References
Index

Endorsements:

‘This very timely, extremely valuable and well-organised collection of informative analyses of media policies in Europe is essential reading for anyone interested in media policy debates, institutional arrangements and regulatory practices within a wide framework of conflicting interests and differing national approaches to communication challenges. Highly commendable!’ – Petros Iosifidis, Director of the MA Media and Communication courses, City University London, UK

‘Understanding Media Policies puts together fascinating evidence of the patchwork of national media policy models in Europe, yet it provides a common background for their comparison. This is a valuable contribution to the growing literature in media policy studies, with compelling descriptions of politics shaping media landscapes’ – Beata Klimkiewicz, The Jagiellonian University, Poland

The following extracts from the editor’s original peer-reviewed and pre-copyedited manuscript can be found here with the permission of Palgrave Macmillan:

  • E. Psychogiopoulou (ed.), ‘Index

The definitive version of these pieces may be found in Understanding media policies edited by E. Psychogiopoulou which can be accessed from www.palgrave.com.

The MEDIADEM project and the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation are organising a conference entitled ‘Media in the claws of market, here power and ownership: Freedom of the press in Turkey’. The conference will take place on 23 November 2012 at the Conrad Hotel in Istanbul. The aim is to present the findings of the MEDIADEM project, focusing on the issues that have a bearing on freedom of expression through the media in Turkey, with due emphasis on the contribution of new media services and the internet to media freedom and independence. The event will be held in Turkish and will last from 09:00 until 18:00. The agenda of the conference is available here (in English).

The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), about it
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in co-operation with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung-Turkey, organised a one-day conference on ‘Media in the claws of market, power and ownership: Freedom of the press in Turkey’ under the framework of the MEDIADEM project. The conference, which took place on 23 November 2012 in Istanbul, explored the censorship practices emanating from economic, political and legal restrictions on media freedom as well as the culture of self-censorship these pressures have helped develop. The conference, consisting of three panels, was opened by Dilek Kurban, leader of the Turkish MEDIADEM team from TESEV, and Michael Meier, the Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Turkey.

During the first panel, ‘Who determines the media policies in Turkey?’, Dr. Ceren Sözeri of Galatasaray University presented the TESEV report Caught in the wheels of power: The political, legal and economic constraints on independent media and freedom of the press in Turkey, drafted within the framework of the MEDIADEM project. Dr. Sözeri discussed the authoritarian, nationalist and conservative values shaping media policies in Turkey, which are prepared at the behest of the government following centralised and bureaucratic processes. Noting that media regulatory bodies lack independence from the government, she criticised the exclusion of the parliament from the election and monitoring of the members of these bodies. Among the other issues Dr. Sözeri underscored were the involvement of the large media groups in various sectors of the economy, the distribution of advertisement revenues among a particularly limited number of television broadcasters, journalists’ poor working conditions and extremely low salaries, and the low rates of media literacy in Turkey. Responding to Dr. Sözeri’s presentation, Mr. Vahap Darendeli of the Supreme Council of Radio and Television in Turkey, said that the criticisms against the enforcement decisions of the agency were misguided and disputed that the Supreme Council lacked independence. Pointing out that its members are elected by parliament, Mr. Darendeli argued that the Supreme Council of Radio and Television is ‘the most independent’ regulatory body in Europe. Also speaking as a discussant to the TESEV report, Mr. Dursun Güleryüz of the Professional Union of Broadcasting Organisations expressed the belief that the journalism standards developed by the union will solve the problem of lack of editorial independence in the Turkish media.

After lunch, the conference reconvened for the second panel on ‘Journalism in Turkey – The reflection of the media policies on freedom of the press?’. The panel hosted seven journalists from various newspapers and from a broadcasting company, which have different political leanings and are at different stages in their career. Ms. Defne Asal from IMC TV identified the media ownership structure as the greatest impediment to the independence of the media in Turkey and stated that the fight for an independent media is closely related to the democratisation process in the country. Mr. Vedat Kur?un of Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat mentioned that his paper, in circulation since 2006, is the first newspaper published in the Kurdish region and gave various examples about the state-induced pressure on Kurdish media in Turkey. He also briefed the audience about the criminal case against him, where 166 years of imprisonment sentence is currently on appeal. Mr. Utku Çak?rözer of daily Cumhuriyet criticised the Justice and Development Party’s accreditation practices against select media organs as anti-democratic. Mr. Ali Akel, formerly of daily Yeni ?afak, noted that the changes in media ownership after the 2001 financial crisis have made coverage of sensitive issues much more difficult. Mr. Ali Topuz from daily Radikal commented on editors’ relations with private capital in the media and stated that an editor who wants to be independent has to risk unemployment. Ms. Hilal Kaplan of the daily Yeni ?afak said that most of the editors-in-chief in Turkey are virtually at the behest of the media patrons and determine their editorial policies in accordance with the financial interests of their employers. Finally, Mr. Abdülhamit Bilici of daily Zaman made a brief historical analysis of the media-state relationship in light of the sociological changes in Turkey in the past half century.

The final panel of the conference was titled ‘New media and freedom of the press: New fields and new actors in access to news’. Mr. Do?an Ak?n, the editor of online news portal T24, emphasized the importance of developing professional codes of ethics in the journalistic profession. Stressing that the extremely high wages paid to a group of journalists have secured their indifference, Mr. Ak?n discussed the strategies T24 has adopted in order to remain financially and ideologically independent. Mr. Engin Önder and Mr. Cem Aydo?du stated that 140Journos, a citizen journalism initiative, was a reaction to the media’s indifference to the killing of 34 Kurdish civilians by Turkish military jets in December 2011 and said that their aim is to produce news through new technology. Mr. Ali R?za Kele? of the Association of Alternative Informatics highlighted the importance of collective struggle against media censorship and held the state and private actors principally accountable for the lack of freedom in the internet media. Finally, Dr. ?ncilay Cangöz of Anatolian University shared the findings of a research study on low income families’ access to the internet. Noting that the mainstream media ignore the poor segment of society, she noted that access to the internet is a fundamental right and that the government must ensure free access to all.

 The agenda of the conference is available here (in English).

For more information you may contact Dilek Kurban.

The School of Communication and Media organised an expert roundtable on media policy in Slovakia within the framework of the MEDIADEM project. The event took place at the SPK Centre in Bratislava, order
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on 12 December 2012.

The aim of the roundtable, otolaryngologist
which was the 3rd one of this kind this year, was to foster discussion on the policy processes, tools and instruments supportive of the development of free and independent media in Slovakia.

Presentations focused, among others, on the domestic implementation of the right to freedom of expression and the jurisprudence of the ECtHR, the challenges facing local and regional media due to the advent of new media and competition with major media houses, measures to support independent journalism, and the independence of the media regulators. Participants included media policy experts, representatives of the state regulatory authority, lawyers, etc.

The event allowed for constructive debate about media freedom and independence in Slovakia which will hopefully feed into media policy.

The agenda of the event is available in English and Slovakian.

You can view a short video from the event here.

For more information you may contact Andrej Školkay.