Archive item

Title: Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on protecting the role of the media in democracy in the context of media concentration
Other/original title:
Publisher: Council of Europe
Files: Decl-31.01.2007E.doc
Abstract: This declaration, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 31 January 2007 at the 985th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies, tackles the issue of media concentration. The declaration notes that globalisation and concentration continue to lead to the growth of multinational media and communications groups which are fundamentally changing the media landscape. On the one hand, these changes involve opportunities - for example in terms of market efficiency and consumer-tailored content. But on the other hand, these changes make it harder to preserve a diversity of media outlets where a range of ideas and opinions can be expressed, especially in small markets. The declaration expresses concern that the concentration of media ownership can place a single or a few media owners or groups in a position of considerable power to set the agenda of public debate and shape public opinion, and that it can also "entail conflicts of interest, which could compromise editorial independence and the media’s important role as public watchdog". The declaration mentions "the opportunities offered by the development of new communication services and of phenomena such as multimedia, alternative media, community media and consumer-generated content on the Internet," but adds that "their opinion-shaping impact is often dependent upon their content being carried in or reported by mainstream media". The declaration therefore alerts member states to the risk of the power of the media being misused in a situation of strong media concentration, "and its potential consequences for political pluralism and for democratic processes". It highlights the necessity of regulatory measures that guarantee transparency of media ownership and, where appropriate, limit media concentration. The declaration recommends (co-)regulatory mechanisms for monitoring media markets, and the role which public service media and other not-for-profit media can play in promoting a diversity of autonomous channels in a situation of strong media concentration, especially for social groups which are often neglected by mainstream media.
Publication/ adoption date: 2007-01-31
Language: English