Pluralism of information: when I look at myself I'm sorry, when I confront myself…

Pluralism of information: when I look at myself I’m sorry, when I confront myself…

Media pluralism studied in 33 European countries

Observatory on media pluralism it is funded by the European Union. Every year it evaluates the media ecosystems of 33 European states (members of the Union, Great Britain and candidate countries to integrate: Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey), based on 200 variables, ranging from the protection of the right of expression to gender equality in the media and protection against misinformation and hate speech. (read the summary on the Insight NPA platform)

France ranks 4th for editorial independence

Rather reassuring: as in 2022, France ranks 6th in the 2023 edition, published during the summer. It is even 4th on aspects of pluralism of media actors and, in particular, editorial independence. And we can discuss the point of view of European experts on some of the elements taken into account in their assessment. For example on the link they establish between the suppression of the audiovisual fee, the risk of political influence and the danger to the independence of information.

The Observatory also believes that ARCOM’s statute) – “ independent public authority with its own budget, transparent decisions and appointment procedures – represents a commitment to “independence and efficiency” in carrying out its regulatory mission.
But from Talleyrand to Voltaire, not all is well in the best of all possible worlds.

If you consider difficult to make an unequivocal assessment “, keep in consideration ” the limited diversification of groups in France in different media “, the Observatory deems the level of concentration of the national media excessive – in 90% of the 33 countries studied – and joins the IGF-IGAC report of 2022 in regretting that the “anti-concentration clauses of the law of September 1986 remained practically unchanged for over a third of a century (…), and that the anti-concentration laws concerning the printed press have proved unable to halt the trend towards further oligopolistic concentration”.

He regrets this too the strong tradition of protecting the rights of journalists “, linked in particular to the conscience clause, or partly compensated by “ the low unionization rate of the profession.

Worrying trend “to replace journalists with algorithms/robot journalists”

As far as the digital environment is concerned, and beyond the more or less limited guarantees provided by the DSAs in the fight against “fake news”, the experts underline” the proliferation of so-called “news” sites (…) located outside France, which do not officially claim to be “journalist” news outlets (but which present themselves as such and) create further opacity ” And ” the tendency to replace journalists with algorithms/“journalist robots” to process data and formalize it into information fragments, within many native digital media (Melty, Konbini) ».

Ultimately, the results of the Observatory appear as a form of validation of the choice of the – relatively – long time (from 10 to 12 months) reserved for the States General of information:

  • Do not respond urgently to a current event (the strike of the JDD), since the pluralism of information and the independence of the editorial board appear, on the whole, well (and in any case better) ensured only with our neighbors;
  • Adopt a far-sighted approach that allows the impact of technology to be framed in particular (the study mentions algorithms or “journalist robots”, but there is certainly room for further study, also in other areas of application deriving from artificial intelligence);
  • Integrate digital platforms for two reasons: due to the importance they have assumed in public access to information, but also due to the way in which they can affect the turnover of the media, giving them more or less visibility, and due to the methods of pressure that this represents on the latter if – as X did in August to “punish” the New York Times, they slow down the links that lead to their sites;
  • Putting the reader/listener/spectator/internet user at the center of the reflection, who must be the ultimate beneficiary of the reflection and towards whom it must be addressed: how to give him the means to better distinguish between the media and those who copy its form to betray it better spirit?

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