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Media content is increasingly consumed on smartphones and the industry needs to adapt to that

European Newsroom set to launch in 2022

European Newsroom set to launch in 2022

The EU may have a common market, but the borders are still up for the news flow

Yesterday, the second edition of the European News Media Forum took place in Brussels, resulting in the announcement of, among other things, the creation of a European Newsroom in January 2022 (to become operational possibly in the summer). The grand initiative will be a joint collaboration among 16 EU and Balkan non-EU news agencies in a bid to establish a news and informational hub, which will produce and broadcast high-quality and verified news about developments emanating from the Brussels institutions and the bloc, overall.

This represents a concrete action by the European Commission to overcome many issues that have plagued the media sector on the continent in the context of rampant misinformation, media market monopolizations and national governments’ interferences.

Finally, the EU will be able to speak in many languages to its citizens

EU integration has been a process marred by many ups and downs throughout the years, a big part of which can be attributed to national governments’ reluctance to cede too much sovereignty. How the EU and its institutions and policies are perceived on the ground by Europeans of all stripes is often dependent on the media landscape of the particular countries.

How reliable this can be is shown by the 2021 World Press Freedom Index. EU countries ranged from the top spots (Finland, Sweden and Denmark, respectively occupying the 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions) to below the middle on a global scale (with Bulgaria at 112th place).

The reasons behind this are not only populist governments. It can also be the case of concentrating too much media ownership in the hands of a particular person or company. It is also the case of falling ad revenues in times of economic crisis. It is also the case of readers over-relying on dubious information spread through social media channels.

And last, but not least, Europe has been and remains a place of borders despite the common market and free movement. The majority of EU citizens still consume media content in their own native languages, and while legislation emanating from the Brussels institutions has been carefully translated into all the official languages, the same hasn’t been done for the news. The same news that is meant to transmit into a simpler language the myriad of policies, resolutions, programmes, initiatives and fundings that affect the daily lives of the bloc’s residents.

In what is a hopeful breakthrough, as of January 2022, the project will bring 16 news agencies together in a Brussels hub for collaboration on covering EU affairs in 15 languages. The initiative was born after a call for proposals to boost the multilingual European information space and will receive 1.76 million euros in financing from the Commission.

EU Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, in her closing speech at the Media Forum, however, also promised that 75 million euros will be allocated from the Creative Europe programme for media freedom and pluralism projects by 2027.

The creative part on how to get the message to the audience, of course, will be left to the industry.

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