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Media Pluralism Monitor 2022: confirmation of the trends observed in recent years.

posted on 27 July, 2022   (public)

The Media Pluralism Monitor 2022: growing threats against journalists, high level of media concentration and the issue of political advertising online.

The Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) is a project co-founded by the European Union and developed since 2014 by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media. The project aims at regularly assessing the risks to media pluralism in Europe, taking into account legal, political and economic variables. As in previous versions, the MPM 2022 also includes an additional focus on media pluralism in the digital environment.

The MPM is based on 20 indicators covering four areas*:

- Fundamental protection: Protection of freedom of expression and right to information / Independent journalistic work / Independent and effective media authorities / Universal reach of media.

In a nutshell: despite a stagnation in the general level of risk in this area, the indicator 'Journalistic profession, standards and protection' shows a deterioration of 3%, most likely due to the growing threats against journalists and the lack of anti-SLAPP regulation (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation: lawsuits intended to censor and silence critics with costly legal defence).

- Market plurality: Transparency of media ownership / Media concentration / Media sustainability.

In a nutshell: the concentration level remains at very high risk, and especially in the news media and online platforms' markets. While the tendency to merge and consolidate continues to increase in the traditional media industry, a slight decrease in the risk score is observed on the digital platforms market, explained by the forthcoming and evolving regulatory framework in Member States. The online advertising market remains highly concentrated.  

- Political independence: Political independence of media organisations and public service media / State support to the media sector.

In a nutshell: no significant change is observed in this area. More specifically, the report underlines the lack of efficient mechanisms to protect editorial autonomy in most countries and the issue of political advertising online, not taken into account in most of the legal and regulatory frameworks.

- Social inclusiveness: Access to media for local and regional communities and for community media / Access to media for women / Media literacy.

In a nutshell: even though a slight improvement is observed, 'in almost half of the countries covered, there is no comprehensive gender policy in the public service media and women are still under-represented in management positions'.

 

Regarding the digital environment, the study points out an increased risk to journalist's safety online, a market dominance of digital platforms, a lack of consistent and transparent data and the absence of regulation and measures regarding political advertising and ownership transparency.  However, digital media seem to be more resilient with better sustainability indicators.

As a conclusion, it is stated that this new MPM 'has confirmed the findings of the previous four rounds of monitoring – showing that none of the countries analysed is free from risks to media pluralism'.

* For the complete list of indicators covered, see the table 2.a. of the report (p. 11).

General information:

Year covered: 2021

Geographical scope: EU member states, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Türkiye.

Source: CMPF


Further EPRA background: Pluralism has been several times addressed in EPRA meetings. For EPRA material on the topic of pluralism, see the EPRA podcast "media plurality in the age of algorithms" released on 9 July 2020 and the related background document. Under another perspective, pluralism will also be addressed wihtin the topic 'Dis/misinformation, Plurality and Trust' at the next 56th EPRA meeting in October.