Press publishers’ exchange on the future of the digital press with Vice-President Jourova and Commissioner Breton

On 23 and on 25 November 2020, a delegation of high-level representatives of the press sector, from EMMA (the European Magazine Media Association) and ENPA (the European Newspaper Publishers Association) had the pleasure to meet Vice-President Jourova and Commissioner Breton to discuss the current and the future challenges of the press in an increasingly digital world. The expressed attention to the needs of the press sector challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the digital transition and how this will be reflected in upcoming initiatives (Media Action Plan) was noted positively. Press publishers have welcomed the upcoming Digital Market Act (DMA) as a mean to enforce neighbouring rights for publishers, and called for an ambitious proposal introducing ex ante rules to ensure that markets characterised by large platforms with significant network effects acting as gatekeepers remain fair and contestable.

Xavier Bouckaert, President of EMMA said: « A level playing field must be established on the digital markets, often characterised by brutal imbalances in bargaining powers. The gatekeeper platforms determine, if and how the selected media or content is available, visible, and accessible. The DMA needs to entail an obligation for the megaplatforms to grant all legal publications and offerings non-discriminatory access and fair terms and conditions for their services. It is crucial to safeguard the freedom of journalistic and editorial media against market dominant platforms in a Europe fit for the digital age. »

Jean-Pierre de Kerraoul, President of ENPA said: « The neighbouring right granted in the Copyright Directive is a useful legal tool, but it is lacking as imbalances between publishers and dominant platforms remain and keep increasing. The upcoming DMA is the only appropriate instrument to effectively enforce it, and it must include an obligation for market dominant platforms to enter into negotiations with all legal publications and offer fair payment for their content. »

The delegation also expressed strong concerns as regards the current texts for the e-Privacy regulation. They encouraged Commissioner Breton to consider starting over with a balanced and future-proof approach, which safeguards the financing models of the press, as the current proposal is outdated and fundamentally flawed.

The upcoming European Democracy Action Plan and the Digital Services Act were also discussed, as the publishers stated the importance for the Commission to ensure the good functioning of a free and independent press sector when elaborating new EU legislation.The press sector is a vital pillar of our democracy, and it requires a supportive legislative framework to guarantee that position in today’s digitised society.

EMMA

The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats.

www.magazinemedia.eu
ENPA

The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 16 national associations across 13 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.

www.enpa.eu