An Alternative Media Landscape for Europe
7 April 2016 15h00-18h30
European Parliament, Brussels
Room ASP 1G2
For information please contact [email protected]
15.15 – 15.20 Welcome address Curzio Maltese, MEP
15.20 – 16.20 Panel 1: Democracy and the crisis of journalism in Europe
Chair: Curzio Maltese, MEP
Giovanni Melogli, International Alliance of Journalists
Gad Lerner, journalist, Italy
Panagiotis Konstantinou, journalist, www.tvxs.gr, Greece
Exchange of views
16.20 – 16.35 Contribution of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Founder, via video-conference
Chair: Miguel Urbán Crespo, MEP
16.35 – 18.00 Panel 2: New perspectives of independent journalism
Chair: Stelios Kouloglou, MEP
Ignacio Escolar, journalist, founding director, eldiario.es, Spain
Kostas Arvanitis, Directon network of radio stations “Sto Kokkino”, Greece
Sezin Oney, journalist, Haberdar, Turkey
Exchange of views
18.00 – 18.10 Closing remarks
Stelios Kouloglou, MEP
Freedom of expression is under threat in the European Union as the media-industry struggles to recover from the financial crisis and hardly finds ways to remain economically sustainable in a period of dramatic sector-wide transformation. We are not facing the old diseases of censorship and direct curtailment of the liberty of the press but rather a financial straightjacket encumbering information at the stage of its very production. Though less visible, this form of silent censorship prevents citizens in the Union to access in-depth information about matters of public interest and hinders their main democratic weapon to the accountability of the powerful, i.e. quality alternative press. Data shows that the malaise of the media-industry is striking across countries.
Newsrooms are increasingly downsized, journalists are underpaid and left without the guarantees of full-time contracts. Not only do they lack the means of conducting thorough research and investigations, but they are also left without the legal protection of large editorial groups which employ them as externals or free-lancers. Data from the Asociación de la prensa de Madrid shows that 50 per cent of journalistic information produced in Spain comes from independents, namely individuals with no fixed affiliation to media institution. In Italy, the number of freelancers' among journalists has grown by 750% in 20 years. In 2014, 7 freelance journalists out of 10 declared an income of 10.000 euro per year or less.
In France and Germany 60 per cent of journalists are today free-lancers, while Ireland has suffered from its overreliance on advertising revenues which went plummeting since the crisis on. In Greece the situation is even worse, with 50 per cent of journalists now out of their job. Portugal experienced significant cuts both in newsrooms and outsourced jobs alike.
The GUE/NGL initiative will address independent journalism in Europe with representatives from highly crisis-ridden countries. Among them are Greece, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. The conference aims in particular at: Investigating the factors of the crisis of journalism today by defining the different forms and characteristics of it across Europe while assessing their impact on democracy.
Is the internet a challenge to traditional printed media or an opportunity for the development of new audiences? Are audiences less inclined to buy newspapers because of the internet or does the audience have other needs to which independent journalism needs to answer? Are journalists' precarious working conditions and loss of protection undermining freedom of expression and in what ways?
Exploring success examples of new alternative media that have recently developed across the EU and seem to have found innovative and sustainable ways to offer quality alternative and investigative journalism both in the printed press and online.