What Can Be Done? Digital Media Policy Options for Strengthening European Democracy

by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford

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In this report, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford identifies some policy options available for the European Commission and for European Union member states should they wish to create a more enabling environment for independent professional journalism going forward. Many of these options are relevant far beyond Europe and demonstrate what democratic digital media policy could look like.

The report argues that, to thrive, independent professional journalism needs freedom, funding, and a future. To enable this, media policy needs (a) to protect journalists and media from threats to their independence and to freedom of expression, (b) to provide a level playing field and support for a sustainable business of news, and (c) to be oriented towards the digital, mobile, and platform-dominated future that people are demonstrably embracing – not towards defending the broadcast and print-dominated past. The three preconditions come in order of priority.