Presentation of MEDIADEM findings in Zagreb

The School of Journalism of the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the MEDIADEM project organised a workshop to present the policy suggestions that emerged from the project’s research for the development of free and independent media in Spain. The event was supported by the Spanish Federation of Journalists Association (FAPE). The workshop took place on 23 November 2012 at the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies in Madrid.

Juan Luis Manfredi, try the scientist in charge of the Spanish MEDIADEM research team, about it
presented the project’s media policy recommendations. He argued that these offer a good diagnosis of the problems facing media freedom and independence in the county while providing tangible ideas about legislative and administrative reforms as well as changes in the exercise of journalism that are needed to enhance media freedom in Spain.

Aurelio Martin, find
the vice president of FAPE, noted that the recommendations are opportune and timely. In Spain, he stressed, ‘economic results used to be more important than journalism, thus having a weakening impact on media freedom and citizens’ rights. If media owners forget their social role, media companies will behave as all other industries. However, the media have to do with such a particular and significant issue: freedom of speech and democracy. There is no room for industrial journalism’. Guillermo Lopez, Professor of Journalism at the University of Valencia, argued that partisan journalism has made the profession vulnerable to external menaces. For him, ‘If journalists innovate and create not only alternative  journalistic formats – based on prioritising high quality information and original content – but also new business models, there is hope’.  Emilio Guichot, Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Seville, argued that the legislators should support the development of media and communication policies that advance political pluralism in the media.

Overall, the workshop brought together more than thirty lecturers, journalists, media advisors and students that share the goal of fostering free and independent media in the country – a great challenge, as many have observed.

The agenda is available in Spanish and English.

For more information you may contact Juan Luis Manfredi.

On 5 December 2012 the Institute for International Relations (IMO) in Zagreb organised a workshop to present the progress of the MEDIADEM project, drug
and to discuss European and Croatian policy issues that have a bearing on media freedom and independence. The list of participants included university professors, members of civil rights NGOs, members of professional journalists’ associations, representatives of the public service broadcaster, media advisers of the Croatian Ministry of Culture, and media market researchers.

The workshop was opened by Nada Švob-?oki?, leader of the Croatian MEDIADEM research team, who briefly presented the theoretical and methodological aspects of the project, and its terminology, scope and research areas.  Paško Bili?, junior researcher at IMO, presented the report Media freedom and independence in 14 European countries: A comparative perspective. The follow-up discussion focused on the different public broadcasting service funding mechanisms across Europe, the EU state aid assessment rules and the public value test. Also, particular attention was given to journalistic autonomy, journalists’ working conditions and journalists’ professionalisation. These issues surfaced throughout the workshop as key media policy issues in Croatia.

The next presentation by Nada Švob-?oki? focused on the comparative report The regulatory quest for free and independent media, with emphasis on the policy implications of the report. Three key points were highlighted: the need for an integrated approach to the media, the need for technological neutrality in the approach to media regulation, and the need for a combination of ex ante regulation and ex post competition analysis.

The concluding discussion raised a range of issues such as the need for research-informed and coordinated media policy-making, the independence of the regulators and the working conditions of journalists, among others. Granting professional licences to journalists was discussed as a possible way forward in dealing with journalists’ degrading socio-economic status in the country. Yet, previous attempts to promote such a policy goal were discarded. Strong market influence in the media system and the central role of the state in policy-making were also addressed. As for the ‘new’ media, it was noted that regulation is mostly in the domain of telecommunications infrastructure. The role of media policy in regulating content and defining new media services is mostly non-existent. Just to name one example, the social dimension of the award of digital dividend concessions has mostly been absent from policy discussions. The workshop closed with a general conclusion about the need to devise long-term policies that would be research-based and analytical on the one hand, and process-oriented on the other.

The agenda is available in Croatian and English.

For more information on the workshop you may contact Paško Bili?.