Workshop on the influence of the internet on the media

On 29 November 2010, order the Perelman Centre for Legal Philosophy and the Institute for European Studies of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) organised a conference on the influence of the internet on the media. The conference started with a brief welcome and introduction by Benoît Frydman, professor at the ULB. Bart Van Besien, research fellow at the same university, informed the public on the scope of the Mediadem project and its aim of mapping the influences of various media policies on the development of free and independent media in Europe. Pierre-François Docquir, post-doctoral researcher at the ULB, discussed the challenges for freedom of expression in the digitalised media environment. Damien Van Achter, Social Media Manager at the Belgian French-language public broadcaster RTBF, illustrated how social media such as Facebook and Twitter shake up the existing media landscapes. Amandine Degand, researcher at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), presented the results of a recent research project on the impact of the internet on the communication of information and on the working conditions of journalists. Finally, Jacques Englebert, professor at the ULB, analysed the legal ramifications of an all-encompassing digitalisation trend in communications law.

A lively discussion followed between the speakers and the public. Participants exchanged views and opinions on issues such as the importance of developing new business models and new working practices for the media players, the challenges posed to the existing media outlets by the new media and their influence on the pluralistic character of the media sector. The organisers of the conference thanked François Heinderyckx, professor at the ULB, for leading the discussion, and the members of the panel and the public for their invaluable input.  The organisers furthermore confirmed their intention to organise similar conferences on related topics on a recurring basis, as it was expressly asked by various members of the public,

For more information on the conference, you may contact Pierre-François Docquir.

The agenda of the workshop is available here. A detailed report on the workshop by the Association of French-language Journalists in Belgium can be found here (in French).