AuthorIva Nenadic - Azevedo Cunha - Elda Brogi - Mario Viola - Pier Luigi Parcu - Roberta Carlini
EUI - RSC - CMPF - July 2020 23
3. Analysis
24 Monitoring Media Pluralism in the Digital Era
e Basic Protection indicators are designed to describe and measure those elements con-
sidered essential conditions for a pluralistic and democratic society. e rst, and funda-
mental, component of the area is the level of ‘Protection of freedom of expression’, the basic
prerequisite for any functioning democracy. Freedom of expression is necessary for indi-
vidual dignity and fullment, and it “constitutes [an] essential foundation for democracy,
rule of law, peace, stability, sustainable inclusive development and participation in public
aairs”.15 In the MPM2020, respect for freedom of expression is assessed as having specic
regard for the realisation of this fundamental right, in the online environment too.
Along with freedom of expression, and stemming from it, the right to access information
is another fundamental ingredient of democracy. It is of the utmost importance that the
eective transparency of public administrations is guaranteed, and that information which
is in the public interest can be circulated to feed the political debate and, in the end, de-
mocracy. For that reason, a contemporary democracy should guarantee access to public
information and whistle-blowers’ protection.
A free and plural media environment relies on free journalism. is means that access
to the journalistic profession should be open, that journalists should be able to enjoy de-
cent working conditions and should be able to work without constraints. An “enabling
environment16 allowing journalists and other media actors to freely express themselves
without fear, even when their opinions are contrary to those held by the authorities, or
by a signicant section of public opinion, should be guaranteed by Member States. e
MPM therefore considers the safety of journalists, both physical and digital, as a direct
and essential parameter through which to assess whether the basic conditions for a plural
media environment are fullled. e impartiality and independence of the institutions
that oversee the media market are other basic elements for a plural media environment.
e independence of media authorities is of paramount importance when implementing
media specic regulation and media policy, as the shape of the market has a direct impact
on market plurality and on the political independence of the media environment.
15 Council of the EU, EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Oine, 12 May 2014, http://www.
16 ECtHR, case Dink v. Turkey, 2668/07, 6102/08, 30079/08, 7072/09 et 7124/09, Judgment on September 14, 2010. See also
Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers, Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4[1] of the Committee of Ministers to Mem-
ber States on the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists and other media actors,
EUI - RSC - CMPF - July 2020 25
Finally, the Basic Protection area includes an assessment of the universal reach of tra-
ditional media and of access to the Internet. ese are conditions that contribute to the
assessment of whether citizens have, or at least potentially have, access to a wide variety of
content. e indicators aim to capture risks in relation to specic legal standards, by meas-
uring both the existence of legislation in a given area and its implementation. In addition
to this, the Monitor assesses what the eective socio-political conditions are that aect the
specic area of investigation in practical ways.
e ve indicators examined under the Basic Protection area are:
Protection of freedom of expression
Protection of the right to information
Journalistic profession, standards and protection
Independence and eectiveness of the media authority
Universal reach of traditional media and access to the Internet
Figure 3.1.a. Basic Protection area - Map of risks per country

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