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IRIS 2007-3:8/9

European Commission

Three-Step Approach to Maintain Media Pluralism

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Mara Rossini

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

A plan for media pluralism - dubbed the “Reding-Wallström” approach - was unveiled in mid-January. This approach, presented by Commissioner Reding and Vice-president Wallström, consists of three steps and is intended to safeguard democratic processes by reinforcing media pluralism in the face of new technology and global competition. The three steps involve the following: a Commission Staff Working Paper on media Pluralism, an independent study on media pluralism in EU Member States and a Commission Communication on the indicators for media pluralism in the EU Member States. The first of these steps, the Commission Staff Working Paper, has already been presented. It contains a survey of efforts that have been deployed to promote media pluralism by third parties and organisations (notably the Council of Europe) and gives insight into Member States’ audiovisual and print media markets, including information on national media ownership regulations and general regulatory models. Issues such as freedom of information, the interrelation between politics/economic interests and the media, media concentration, cross-border concentration, media content, internal/external pluralism and technological developments such as the internet and digital television are discussed in the Working Paper. The second step, an independent study on media pluralism, will be completed in 2007 and is intended to define concrete indicators for assessing media pluralism in the EU Member States. The third and final step is the Commission Communication which will be ready by 2008 and entails a public consultation.

References
“Media pluralism: Commission stresses need for transparency, freedom and diversity in Europe’s media landscape” press release of 16 January 2006, IP/07/52, available at: EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=10637
 
The Commission Staff Working Paper on Media Pluralism, 16 January 2007 EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=15241