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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE AV.Observatory Director Closs to EuroFora: European replies to US Dominance on Digital Media=Key

CoE AV.Observatory Director Closs to EuroFora: European replies to US Dominance on Digital Media=Key

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 07 November 2012

*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- A set of Principles on the Rights of Internet Users and the development of European Players in the Digital Audio-Visual Market, can and must be Europe's reply to the growing need to Safeguard Democratic "Pluralism" in New Media able to "Shape Public Opinion", but currently challenged by a growing Media Concentration dominated by a few USA Companies, as it results in substance from statements to "EuroFora" by CoE's Director on Information Society and Crime, Jan Kleijssen and by the PanEuropean AudioVisual Observatory's (EAVObs') Executive Director, Wolfgang Closs, on the occasion of a landmark Conference organized at CoE's Headquarters in Strasbourg on the 20th Anniversary of EAVObs., during which many Top Experts focused on "Transparency" about "Media Concentration".



While, a Decade ago, Radio-TV Broadcasters were the main actors concerned by Media Concentration, on the contrary, Today, "the means by which enterprises can Control the Media sector are increasingly subtle and attach to virtually All Stages of the Value chain", where "Market Power and Media Domination can be based (f.ex.) on a strong CopyRight portofolio, as much as on the control of Platforms and/or Transmission Networks", etc., while "Verticaly Integrated Businesses ... are able to build simultaneously on a rich .. AV Content, various Media Services, and priority Transmission arrangements, or can control such Infrastructures", and, "more recently, the issue of Dominance emerged also in relation to Manufacturers of Reception Devices", (TV sets, PCs and Tablets, SmartPhones, etc), observes a Special Edition of EAVObs' Legal Publication "IRIS" dedicated to the need for "Regulation" on "Converged Markets and Converged Power" able to "Shape Public Opinion", which was prepated and introduced by EAVObs' Legal services' Head Susanne Nikoltchev.
      "Screen Digest"'s Chief Analyst, Ben Keen, from London, described how it has become Today much "easier to develop Dominance" by Internet Networks-interConnected Devices, Software and Works", (See relevant Photo),


    while Bernd Malzanini, Director of KEK, the German Committee on Media Concentration, based at Potsdam, explained that his "Mission to ensure Pluralism of Opinions", mainly by "Transparency", and "prevent a predominant Dominance on Opinion-making, (f.ex. if a Company controls more than 25 % or 30% of a Media market),


revealed, inter alia, a recent popular Trend, (particularly among Young People), to swift from the still remaining TV-predominance among various Medias used in average everyday, towards an Internet priority in the foreseeable Future, (according to some astonishing Graphics).


    Nevertheless, efficient EU Rules against risks of Concentration in that New Media landscape are almost ...non-existent until now, denounced EU Law Professor Roberto Mastroianni, from Naples' University,


while the Director of the Office of OSCE's Representative for Mass Media Freedom, Andrei Rikhter, after observing that "CoE doesn't cover only the EU, but rather a much more Wide area", despite a rather Critical presentation of Digital Media actors throughout all Europe up to Russia and other ex-CIS Countries, noted at least the active presence of "Yandex",  (which is "Independent" minded, as he later stressed to "EuroFora"), and other relevant, evolving Russian companies, (such as Kapirsky, Rambler, Kontakti, etc), that also other Experts found as a rare counter-weight vis a vis the otherwise uncontested Dominance mainly of a few North American Compagnies such as principally "Google",  "Apple" and "Microsoft", added to "Facebook", "Twitter", etc., and partly followed by South-Korean "Samsung", etc.


    Such facts naturally incited certain participants, as f.ex. Marco Cole, Professor of Media Law from Luxembourg, to raise the obviously Topical Question about how EU Countries could protect themselves from eventual attempts to abuse a Dominant position in a Media-related Digital Market "by Non-European Players", as he characteristically pointed out.


    A move which stirred a rather "hot", animated and interesting Debate among various participants to the CoE's Conference, until it was, suddenly, ... interrupted by an unprecedented Cut of Electric Power which threw all the Room into a spooky Black-out Darkness, never seen before at CoE's Headquarters in Strasbourg, similar to the recent (2012) New York's Manhattan black-out after the Hurricane "Sandy", (and reminding to "EuroFora" a rare experience of a similar Electric Power cut at UNO's N.Y. Headquarters back on 2005, which amused some US collegues ready to propose to their Media satirical Headlines of the kind :  - "U.N. Powerless ?!", etc)..


    - "That might be a reaction from some "Non-European actors", immediately reacted, amused, the experienced EAVObs' Top Economic Expert, André Lange, who, nevertheless, observed, afterwards, smiling, that, sometimes, "Statistics might lie more than Lights"..


    - At any case, "it's a fact that American influence on Audio-Visual Works has increased even further, recently in Europe", critically observed, later, André Lange, speaking to "EuroFora".

    => This obviously made more Topical the subsequent question about whether, when and how could be developed also some equivalent "European Players", particularly in the Digital AudioVisual Markets, for which "EuroFora" witnessed a rather vivid interest in several participants.


 - Yes, Absolutely, Europe must develop today some real, big, efficient and innovative Players able to act on the Digital AV front Worldwide, f.ex. by grouping together some Companies able to provide Digital AV Content, Networks and Tools, clearly agreed with "EuroFora" the experienced long-time Director of the PanEuropean AudioVisual Observatory of the CoE, Wolfgang Closs from Norway, stressing, in this regard, that, after all, "the Digital AV World is (already) Global".

 - But, Today, I wanted to gather together here (at the CoE) the living Memory of all those who have been observing the EAVObs. since its creation (back on 1993), because that means that if they continue to observe you for 20 years, then, you really Exist", Closs joked, speaking to "EuroFora", whose co-Founder has, indeed, followed at least EAVO's main developments since 1993..


 - Back in the 1980ies, when mainstream EU leaders, including f.ex. former French President François Mitterand, realized that "Culture is not just an ordinary Merchandise like all others", a cooperation between EU and CoE (headed then by Catherine Lalumiere : comp. some of her statements to "EuroFora") for the "creation of an European Audio-Visual Area", had resulted in the establishment of a 1st EU Directive on TV, of EURONEWS and of the PanEuropean Audio-Visual Observatory, reminded one of that Historic movement's actors, former Ambassador Bernad Miyet, President of Valarda Consulting, who was a Key-note Speaker at today's event. But now, on 2012, something must obviously be done in order to facilitate at least the creation of European Digital AV market Players, despite the current Financial problems, agreed later Ambassador Miyet (who has had an interesting experience also at California, US in the Past) with "EuroFora".


 + By a Timely coincidence, this same Evening, German Chancellor Angie Merkel, (a well-known supporter of Innovation in Digital Technologies), after a landmark debate on EU's Future towards a closer Economic and Political Union, together with MEPs Groups' Presidents at EU Parliament in Brussels, where she stressed that "Europe must be an Innovative Continent" and "Invest in the Future",

is meeting in London the British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has recently stressed, at the latest EU Brussels' Summit (comp. "EuroFora"s NewsReports from the spot) that - "there is a Global Race taking place, and ...there is a danger of European countries and the EU falling behind. So ... what is absolutely vital is that we encourage enterprise, "and ... most importantly, we look at the greatest asset we've got, which is the Single Market, ...the single Biggest Market anywhere in the World, and we Complete that market", since, even in "its 20th Anniversary right now, ...it still isn't finished, in Digital, in Services", etc., "and that is the Agenda I'll be pushing very hard".


CoE to adopt Rules for "Protection of Internet Users' Human Rights" in 2013

The Conservative-Liberal Governing Coalition in the UK has already shown its interest on Internet-related issues during the recent Brittish rotating Presidency of the CoE, (November 2011- May 2012), which strongly supported a PanEuropean Strategy on main Principles for Guidance at the World Wide Web, at the aftermath of the 1st ever discussion on Internet Governance by the G8 Summit of Heads of State/Government under the Chairmanship of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Deauville, (Comp. "EuroFora"s relevant NewsReports both from the G8 Summit at Deauville and from the Brittish CoE Presidency in Strasbourg).

 => - "According to CoE's recently adopted "Internet Strategy", Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organization is currently working on a Pioneer Legal Recommendation for "the Protection of the Human Rights of Internet Users", which concerns "all Internet-related Platforms", and could be hopefully adopted by CoE's Committee of Ministers in the course of Next Year (2013), revealed to "EuroFora" the experienced CoE Director on Information Society and Crime, Jan Kleijssen from Austria (forthcoming 2013 CoE's rotating Chair),


+ In parallel,  continues to evolve further also CoE's preparation of  a "Modernization" of its Historic "Data Protection" International Treaty, while EU also drafts its own Data Protection norms.

=> USA also (which already have a Special Status at the CoE, as well as Canada, Japan, etc) can and do follow CoE's relevant activities, while big American and other Companies are even more interested, and could,  f.ex. benefit from a kind of "Quality Mark" if they endorse CoE's Internet Users' Norms, Kleissjen agreed with "EuroFora".
    But, since the Digital AV World has really become "Global", as EAVObs' Executive Director, Wolfgang Closs observed to "EuroFora" (comp. Supra), then, what about China ?

 - Pointing at a recent trend towards a "Convergence accross Industries in the Digital AV sector, "Cultural industry will further Integrate with other industries", such as "Manufacturing and Service industries", which  "will spur ...Development", particularly with "substantial progress ..in the Integration of Telecommunications Networks, Cable TV networks and the Internet", stressed mainstream "People's Daily" in a Strategic  text placed under the Heading "a Vision of Innovation", published at the eve of a crucial CPC Congress November 8-15, 2012.


In this regard, "Digital industry will develop at Fast pace and ultimately become the Core of the Cultural sector", creating "a Digital Boom", CPD concludes.
+ "China's cultural Innovation is heading towards a golden Decade of unprecedented prosperity, profits and pride", it hopes : "Over the next decade, China's cultural industry is geared to maintain high growth and ultimately grow from a new engine into a Pillar of the national economy., while also "Investment in the industry will gradually diversify as the share of private and foreign capital increases". "The industry will become more and more concentrated, with the emergence of a growing number of Flagship cultural Conglomerates, which take up a large percentage of China's domestic market. China's Cultural industry will see more than 100 public companies, which will be listed in both the domestic and Overseas capital markets".

- The recent development, and further prospects for the Chinese Web Search Engine "Baidu", (a regional competitor to USA's "Google"), apparently is one among various such concrete examples...

 - Indeed, "China is currently in the process of setting up its "Dragons"", (i.e. big and innovative enough Businesses, destinated to grow in a Global World), said earlier to "EuroFora" the experienced Diplomatic Advisor of French President Hollande, Paul-Jean Ortiz, (comp. "EuroFora"s relevant NewsReport from the sidelines of the latest, October 2012 EU Summit in Brussels).




(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version may be published asap.


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