Platformization: the Challenges and Opportunities for Traditional European Media

Gabriel Rosa, Valerio Spinosi, Vesë Latifi, Yangyang Yang, Abdirahman Mohamed Issa, Ali Nishikawa, Ágnes Modrovich, Xiaochen Zhang, & Xuwen Zheng

An Epochal Change: Can Traditional Media Survive in the Era of Platforms?

Platforms are doing to traditional European media what the press did to the spiritual influence of the Catholic Church, which had the complete power on communication and information in the 15th century. It happened once in a blue moon in history that such strong organizations lost their communication and political supremacies towards something totally new without having the possibility to win their authority back and without having to change their traditional structures and mode of action.1

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Political Polarization and Media Fragmentation – A Threat to the Swedish Socialist Haven?

Michela Zabaglia, Johannes Sternberger, Annika Hoffmann, Constantin Blaschke, Daniela Floris, Melina Johanne Tasiovasilis, Viktoria Hammerschmid, Paulina Grzegorzewska, Lucia Albo

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Scandinavian democracies have long been acknowledged to be the “moral superpowers” of European societies, states Christine Ingebritsen, Professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington. Stable welfare systems, consensus-oriented governments and a strong sense of solidarity within national communities characterized an image of the Scandinavian countries where social democratic center-left dominance has long been the norm. Media fragmentation and political polarization in combination with the rise of the Sweden Democrats threaten that particular image.

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Rise and Shine Europe – an Insider’s Look into the Creative Market

Francisco Abadia, Eirini Digka, Elena Kutsarova, Carlos Magalhães, Zsofia Meszaros, Valeriia Panova, Savvinna Sinopidou, Maria Trofimova

Interview with Elena Lai

For the past 20 years, technological developments have had a significant impact on the audiovisual landscape, changing competition practices and reshaping the structure of the audiovisual services market. The European Union (EU) faces several challenges to safeguard the viable production of native audiovisual content and boost competitiveness. With the ever-rising digitalization of the audiovisual industry and the emergence of a few dominant players, the European Council have adopted initiatives such as the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and the Creative Europe program. Both are designed to promote cultural diversity and stimulate European audiovisual production and distribution.

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Media Owners Never Hit the Headlines. How Come?

Panagiota Sdoukou, Lina Dahbour, Camilla Falsetti, Lucas Moore, María Migallón, Evelina Nõmme, Louis Toussaint, Yavuz S. Ugurtas

Transparency over media ownership: What is the status quo in Europe?

“Access Info Europe has carried out a research across Europe and we proved that it is impossible to know who is behind the media” says Helen Darbshire, Excecutive Director, Access Info Europe.

According to the Center for Media Pluralism and Freedom “Media ownership concentration remains one of the most significant risks to media pluralism and is seen as creating barriers to diversity of information and viewpoints.”

Unfortunately, there is no generic answer to the question “what is the state of media ownership transparency in Europe”. Over the past years, there were extreme cases of media manipulation unveiled in Europe, which have sparked a debate on media freedom and media ownership.

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Is Media Capture the Chief Culprit in Hindering Media Independence?

Greta Bitante, Nadine Lakhal, Jinhong Park, Laura Sanz, Mengzhi Zeng, Ieva Zinovičiūtė

Without any doubt, media capture has quickly become one of the world’s most difficult and intractable problems. In a growing number of countries, collusion between governments and wealthy media owners is becoming the preferred method of political consolidation and for maintaining the power of a small elite. Aggravated by the economic weakness of the traditional news business and the growing concentration of ownership of media industries, media capture has become one of the major tools for undermining democratic societies and handing them over to authoritarian rule.

It is well known that in some authoritarian regimes, media are often biased. The lack of media independence generally has to do with media capture by political interests. In countries such as Turkey, Russia or Egypt, media outlets are mostly state-owned and the content being published is strictly controlled, which goes totally against democratic values and freedom of expression. However, media capture is not the same as censorship imposed from a State, since it operates through collaboration between media owners and the State. As Andrew Finkel argues, captured media often chases its audiences with screaming headlines, political intrigue, with the aim of influencing a large number of people while maintaining the favour of the Government.

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Trolls, Bots…And Terrorists?

Maartje van Leeuwen, Nora Romanova, Max Årstad Knutsen , Alaa Jbour,  Erkan Yildiz and Aslihan Okyay

Social media is a powerful weapon, it can be used as a tool to shape opinions, attitudes and even behaviors. In today’s information environment, there are numerous opportunities to share radical content online. Proclaimed states and terrorist groups have quickly adapted the new information environment by using social media for disseminating propaganda to achieve political objectives, plan operations and reach large audiences to gain their support.

Bots and the Spread of Illegal Content Online

One of the most worrying phenomenon on social media platforms is the spread of computer generated content by ‘bots’, the most commonly used medium for bot activity is Twitter. Twitter has certain benefits as it reaches large audiences and is easy to use, while it keeps anonymity and allows a fast recovery from suspended accounts. Terrorist bots have been designed to misinform and manipulate social media users. These accounts can disseminate, share and retweet information in great amounts and with great speed. Furthermore, these automatic generated profiles are capable of interacting with each other, thus appearing more credible for Twitter users. Researchers have uncovered that terrorist groups have adjusted their twitter behavior in such a way as to ensure that the deactivation of their initial posts do not affect the spread of their message. And furthermore they have adjusted their media techniques in order to achieve maximum viral reach. They no longer need the traditional gatekeepers of the media to spread their message. This means that these gatekeepers have lost their protected status.

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The Game of Lobbying. Will Europe Take Real Actions

Transparency in the Era of Fake News

Tamam Abusalama, Darya Tronenko, Mariana Franca da Costa Lemos, Hofman Aline, Rafael Ramiro, Celia Iglesias Berberana

A Broad Concentration in Brussels

Over 25.000. This the estimated number of lobbyists working in regular presence in Brussels, shaping aand influencing decision making in a transnational sphere, according to Transparency International EU. This increasing number of lobbying companies is tied to governments and can lead to the transformation of democracy from civil representation to representation of interests. This transformation is new and quite influential.  It’s a business-based-relationship; lobbying companies are looking to increase their profits through many ways. There is an incentive to trade money for access, which gives lobbying companies the ability to achieve their agenda and objectives.

This trend has also changed the face of media and fake news, especially with the revolutions in communication technologies and social networks. Take, for instance, the increasing relevance of media in EU lobbying processes; a closer investigation of media coverage on EU legislation is necessary to understand who’s voices are heard and why. Without this investigation, fake news will continue being spread for the benefit of a growing number of different actors, including lobbyists. EU Governments are tackling this problem with regulations, but one question stands out: Whose job is it to fight disinformation, if anyone’s? Should it be the responsibility of tech companies, lobbyists, governments, or readers themselves? Well, working together in a multidisciplinary approach is a way to minimize bias and maximize democracy.

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