Sunday, July 06, 2008

BPN 1150 Nine editors-in-chief mull future written press

EU Media Commissioner Viviane Reding met nine editors-in-chief of European newspapers such as Le Monde (France) and Lidové Noviny (Czech Republic) in what is becoming a staple high-level dialogue on the health of print media. On the agenda: Is the press maintaining high editorial standards online or is there a rush to be first with the news at all costs? Are print journalists being forced to take on too many roles in the multi-platform world of print, web, podcast and video clip and if so, is quality suffering? Do editors-in-chief from old and new Member States have any common views on media pluralism that could help the Commission in its quest to devise indicators for measuring media pluralism? How could public funding of online activities of broadcasters come into conflict with freedom of the press?

The talks between the editors-in-chief and Commissioner Reding cover several broad subject areas including media pluralism, the consequences for editorial policy of the transition from printing to online press, the impact of new digital business models on journalists' standards as well as new advertising bans considered in some EU Member States. These high-level talks are a debating platform where the press can raise any current concerns that it has, such as the role of public service broadcasting on the web or the impact of new car labelling proposals on advertising (IP/08/835). At the same time they offer the opportunity for the Commission to learn about the latest front-line developments in areas like advertising and new business models, as well as the testing of public policy approaches.

In the meeting, Commissioner Reding repeated and underscored one of the most important principles of EU Media Policy: No new advertising bans at EU level, as these could hit in a disproportionate manner the media and especially the written press. She will continue to oppose all initiatives aimed at introducing new EU advertising bans for alcohol, for car advertising or for sweets.

This is the fourth dialogue between the written press and the Commission. It follows meetings in autumn 2005 (IP/05/1164), autumn 2006 (IP/06/1445) and May 2007 (IP/07/713). These high-level meetings were all organised by the Commission's Media Task Force, responsible for screening all Commission output so as to make sure that Commission initiatives do not unintentionally damage the editorial or commercial freedom of the printed press.

The Commission has always invited editors from all EU Member State for these meetings, but their availability depends of course on often busy schedules and personal interest in EU affairs. The editors who gathered came from the Czech Republic (Lidové Noviny), Estonia (Eesti Ekspress), Hungary (Heti Világgazdaság – HVG), Latvia (Chas) Lithuania (Verslo Žinios) , Greece (Kathimerini) and Sweden (Fokus). For the first time, also editors from France (from Le Monde and Rue 89) attended the meeting, thereby reflecting the start of the French Presidency on 1 July.

Blog Posting Number: 1150

Tags: press, written press

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