The Media Pluralism Monitor 2021 (MPM2021) is a scientific and holistic effort to document the health of media ecosystems, detailing threats to media pluralism and freedom in European Union member states and some candidate countries.
The MPM2021 covers the year 2020. This is the fourth MPM EU-wide implementation. The assessed risk scores for various indicators and sub-indicators are grouped as Low (0 – 33%), Medium (34-66%) and High (67-100%) in the text and data visualisations to aid comprehension. The findings show a general stagnation or deterioration of media pluralism and media freedom in the four major areas encompassed by the MPM: Fundamental protection, Market plurality, Political independence and Social inclusiveness. The study comprises the European Union Member States as well as candidate countries, Albania, Montenegro, The Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.
The MPM 2021 has confirmed the findings of the previous four rounds of monitoring – showing that none of the countries analysed are free from risks to media pluralism.
Explore the report
- The assessment on Fundamental Protection shows a deteriorating situation in comparison with MPM2020 in three of the five indicators, in particular, the indicators on Protection of freedom of expression, Protection of the right to information and Journalistic profession, standards and protection. This negative shift can be explained by the emergence of measures adopted by some governments following the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The pandemic impacted also the safety of journalists, affecting their working conditions. Several countries reported increases in physical attacks against journalists as well as online threats and harassment. The indicator Journalistic profession, standards and protection shows an overall increase in risk of seven percentage points.
- The Market Plurality area shifted towards high risk in MPM2021, reflecting the growing economic threats to media pluralism. The main driver of risk in the past year has been the decline in advertising revenues for news media. The economic crisis – related to the COVID-19 impact – and the digital platforms’ dominance in the online advertising market contributed to raise the risk in the indicator of Media viability. Consequently, journalists’ economic working conditions continue to deteriorate, particularly among freelancers
- Transparency of media ownership is at risk, particularly in the online environment.
- Political Independence area is at high risk in 7 countries.
- State advertising, sometimes employed as a form of support for struggling news media, may be a source of concern. The majority of countries (25) scored high risk as they lack transparency concerning beneficiaries and expenditure, a signal of increasing political capture.
- Access to media for women is the highest scoring indicator in this area. Women continue to be heavily underrepresented in both media management and reporting.
- The new indicator on Protection against illegal and harmful speech is the second highest scoring indicator. In most countries, there is no policy framework to fight the spread of disinformation, or else it raises criticism in terms of the respect of fundamental freedoms.
A message from our Director
The MPM clearly demonstrates the present fragility of media pluralism in Europe in view of the turbulence brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing digital disruption”, said Professor Pier Luigi Parcu. “While the pandemic highlighted the critical importance of professional quality journalism in times of crisis, we are increasingly seeing incidents of violence against journalists, online threats, and increasing economic uncertainty. Trends such as these harm journalists’ ability to perform their essential role in society at the service of our democratic discourse.
CMPF Director, Professor Pier Luigi Parcu
- Media Economy in the Pandemic: A European Perspective - Konrad Bleyer-Simon and Roberta Carlini
- News Media Subsidies in the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic – A European Perspective - Konrad Bleyer-Simon and Iva Nenadić