It seems that reliable, independent and trustworthy public service media outlets have never been so vital in today’s Europe. The twin spectres of decreasing media freedom in some countries, on the one hand, and growing media distrust due to a tsunami of disinformation (not helped by the current pandemic) on the other, mean that PSM can stand out like a beacon in the storm. A further dimension for media freedom has been proposed by the European Commission’s initiative for a future European Media Freedom Act (MFA) and the public consultation for its preparation launched on 10 January this year. Regarding public service media, the Commission aims at reflecting on how best to strengthen the governance of public media, around a common framework to better prevent the risks of politicisation and to better ensure diversity and pluralism. The Council of Europe is pursuing in parallel various initiatives to counter current trends threatening the Freedom of Expression such as the coverage of public events or broadcasting bans in line with its traditional role of advocating Freedom of Expression as enshrined in Article 10 of the European Human Rights Convention. The European Audiovisual Observatory is preparing a publication on the topic.
So against the background of these European efforts, the European Audiovisual Observatory invites you to its online conference on the present and future of PSM and will deal with the following questions: How can Europe best ensure the editorial independence of PSM? How can one guarantee adequate funding of PSM? What is the role of PSM in the online environment? And what about its future?
This free public conference - The Media Freedom Act and Public Service Media - will take place online on Wednesday, 23 February 2022, 15.00 – 17.00 CET.
The conference will be opened by a keynote from Věra Jourová, European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency.
The economic weight of PSM in terms of audience, revenues, funding and original production will be explored by our panel moderated by Gilles Fontaine, Head of the Observatory’s Department for Information on Markets and Financing.
The best way of ensuring the editorial independence of PSM and the future of PSM in an online environment will be debated during two successive panel discussions moderated by Maja Cappello, Head of the Observatory’s Department for Legal Information, introduced by snapshot presentations by Sophie Valais and Francisco Cabrera, both senior legal analysts at the Observatory.
The panelists for this conference are: Richard Burnley, Director of Legal and Policy of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU); Renate Schroeder, Director of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ); Patrick Penninckx, Head of the Council of Europe’s Information Society Department; Karim Ibourki, Chair of ERGA and President of the Belgian Regulatory Authority; Milen Mitev, Director General of the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) and Olav A. Nyhus, Director Legal and Policy of the Norwegian public broadcaster (NRK).
The Observatory’s Executive Director, Susanne Nikoltchev, stated that this year’s Observatory conference would “come just at the right time to feed into the current public consultation on the new Media Freedom Act and the never ceasing discussions about how to protect Freedom of Expression in the digital context.” She added that she was looking forward to “a frank and open debate on the best ways to safeguard PSM in today’s Europe”.
The working language of this conference is English.