The Media Pluralism Monitor (MPM) is a tool developed by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom to assess the potential weaknesses in national media systems that may hinder media pluralism. Based on 20 indicators, it covers four areas: fundamental protection, market plurality, political independence and social inclusiveness. The report “Monitoring media pluralism in the digital era” presents the results and the methodology of MPM 2021, that has been implemented in the EU Member States, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.
The unprecedented crisis caused by the Covid-19 drew attention to the key role that media play in a democracy, besides exacerbating the challenges that affect the media sector. Finally, it has boosted the evolution of digital services, including in the news and media sector.
Besides the pandemic, in 2020 there were many cases affecting editorial autonomy and working conditions of journalists.
The MPM 2021 shows that no country in Europe is free from risks. The analysis reveals a general stagnation or deterioration of media freedom and media pluralism in the four areas described above, in particular:
Safety of journalists
- With regard to fundamental protection, the situation is deteriorating in comparison to the MPM 2020, and this is partly due to the measures adopted to counter the pandemic. Physical attacks against journalists increased, as well as online threats and harassment.
- Journalists’ economic conditions are deteriorating both because of the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic and because of the rise in digital platforms’ dominance in the advertising market.
- State advertising is a source of concern with regard to political independence. Most countries are at high risk for the lack of transparency concerning beneficiaries and expenditure.
- Looking at the dimension of social inclusiveness, women continue to be underrepresented in media management and in reporting. Moreover, in most countries there is no framework to fight the spread of disinformation.