We read Agence France Presse’s (AFP) tribune last week on the copyright directive with great disappointment. Although we understand the concerns of the journalists who signed it, we sadly note that it doesn’t take into account the views and concerns of small independent digital media publishers like ourselves.
AFP has taken advantage of its dominant position to support the introduction of an EU-wide neighbouring right in the Copyright Directive to the detriment of small independent digital media publishers, who owe their survival to content sharing, which this right would put in jeopardy.
Independent media is under threat across the globe and AFP’s use of their position to their own benefit will do nothing to alleviate this. In fact, it will exacerbate it. In recent months the accusations of media bias from Donald Trump and others have exploded. Politicians across the world have taken up Trump’s approach of dismissing news outlets that they don’t like with the result being the eroding of public trust in the media. Fake News is now a commonplace term and is used to destroy public trust in media.
When the public lose faith in media, who can hold politicians to account? With the rise of authoritarian style leaders attempting to silence criticism, it is more important now than ever that journalists and media hold themselves to the highest of standards. If we do not ensure we meet the highest of standards as media outlets then we give those who wish to undermine our credibility, the ammunition to do so.
The introduction of an EU-wide neighbouring right would, as the examples in Germany and Spain have shown, lead to the collapse and disappearance of small innovative publishers whose activities are based on the online world. This is not a measure supported by small publishers.
Those pushing for this right ‘in the name of journalists’ would do well to recall that provisions for a share of the revenue for journalists has been removed and there are no guarantees whatsoever that any of the alleged benefits that big publishers claim would be passed on to the journalists.
We urge EU policy-makers not to condemn small publishers to death. We call on the Members of the European Parliament to take the vote on 12 of September as an opportunity to support media plurality, freedom of press, diversity and competition.
Notes to the editors
The European Innovative Media Publishers represents national associations of media publishers bringing together XX media publishers across the European Union. We represent mostly dynamic, innovative and regional outlets that rely on online channels to grow and reach audiences. More information here: https://mediapublishers.eu/
Notes to the editor:
The European Innovative Media Publishers is a platform of national associations of national associations of media publishers and companies that are active in the sector of media publishing within the European Union. EIMP represents mostly dynamic, innovative and regional outlets that rely on online channels to grow and reach audiences. Its members include AEEPP, ANSO 300 POLITYKA and others. More information is available here: www.mediapublishers.eu
The current proposals on copyright reform being discussed by the European Parliament and the Council of European Union include the provision for the introduction of a neighbouring right, under Article 11. This neighbouring right would allow news publishers to prevent their content from being shared via snippets or even potentially links without their express permission in an attempt to generate further revenues for the publishers. This initiative will have a detrimental effect on smaller publishers that rely on the sharing of their content to reach greater audiences. More on the European Innovative Media Publishers’ position is available here: mediapublishers.eu/our-views/
The Copyright Directive will be voted on 12 September by the European Parliament following the proposals being rejected by the Parliament last July. More information here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20180628IPR06809/parliament-to-review-copyright-rules-in-september