Media convergence enables citizens to use the same devices so as to access a diverse range of content that was formerly tied to specific platforms. It also presents a policy challenge as regulators struggle to accommodate new technological and market realities within existing governance structures.
An aspect of convergence that has so far received scant attention is that between broadcasting, on-demand services and the press. Newspapers are not just ‘news’ printed on ‘paper’, but are also understood as news content available on websites carrying videos that are reminiscent of television. The conditions for the carriage of such videos are hotly contested as press publications resent large fees imposed on them in departure from the principle of net neutrality.
The regulation of such videos as audiovisual media services is also controversial, leading to a differentiated implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and testing its relationship with the E-Commerce Directive.
The technological convergence between press and broadcasting throws into sharp relief the historically disparate regulation of the two sectors and raises the question whether technological convergence should lead to regulatory convergence.
A liberalisation of the regulatory environment would further level the playing field but might put the common foundations of the European media landscape in jeopardy. Not only is it questionable whether future European media regulation should run under the banner of ‘press freedom’. Also, the notion of ‘press freedom’ is marred by the uncertainty as to the actors which are entitled to its privileges and responsibilities.
At this one-day conference at the Middlesex University School of Law at 24 September 2015 the future of press regulation in an era of convergence will be debated by a range of speakers including Professor Mark Cole (University of Luxembourg), Dr Oliver Fueg (DG Connect, European Commission), Ms Lara Fielden (IPSO and Reuters Institute), Professor Thomas Gibbons (University of Manchester), Professor Bernd Holznagel (Institute for Information, Telecommunication and Media law, University of Münster), Dr Michael Kogler (Austrian Federal Chancellery, Department for Media Law), Professor Päivi Korpisaari (University of Helsinki), Ms Jenny Metzdorf (University of Luxembourg), Professor Ian Walden (Institute of Computer and Communications Law, Queen Mary University of London).
The convenor of the Conferfence is Dr Irini Katsirea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Registration and refreshments during the conference are free. Registered delegates up to a maximum number of 10 will have the option to attend a conference dinner on Thursday evening, at a cost of £56.95.