Industry News

Weekly Digest: A Joint European Newsroom, Efforts to Shield Press Freedom

Welcome to The Fix’s weekly news digest! Every week, we bring you important news stories  from the world of media – and try to put them in a wider context.

The European Commission announced its plan to introduce EU-wide media rules next year.

Speaking at the European News Media Forum on Monday, Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton addressed a set of media challenges facing Europe, from advertising revenue decline to press freedom demise, and the European Commission’s plans for tackling them.

In particular, the Commission will introduce the European Media Freedom Act “to ensure the integrity and independence of the EU media market,” an effort to prevent media monopolies and government interference. According to Politico’s reporting, the law will aim to prevent situations like Poland’s attempts to limit media ownership rules. The changes will be subject to public consultations before their launch. 

More from The Fix on the Poland situation: Weekly Digest: Pegasus Revelations and Ad Boom 

The European Commission will also invest in a “European newsroom,” bringing together 16 news agencies from various European countries, including non-EU states. The German Press Agency (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa) will lead the group, launching in January of the next year. The coalition will include press agencies from several CEE countries, including Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, and Albania. Based in Brussels, the group will produce stories in 15 languages. 

More from The Fix: Tackling the Pan-European media space (and living to tell the tale) 

UK’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, ordered Facebook’s parent company Meta to sell image platform Giphy.

The social media giant purchased GIF platform Giphy early last year for $315 million. The agency says Facebook selling off Giphy would be a way to “protect millions of social media users” and promote competition among social media platforms. Meta, expectedly, disagrees with the decision.

Despite Meta’s likely appeal, this order is nevertheless unprecedented – as Reuters notes, “[it’s] Britain’s first such move against so-called Big Tech in its efforts to bolster regulation of the sector.” It comes amid the growing concerns about Facebook’s and its peers’ domination in the tech industry. 

Pluralis B.V., a Dutch impact investment company, acquired a 40% stake in Gremi Media, one of the largest Poland’s media groups and publisher of daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita.

Pluralis is backed by the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) and the Soros Economic Development Fund, among other organisations, and managed by the MDIF. The investment comes in the wake of “the situation on the Polish media market… becoming more and more difficult” amid political pressure, according to Gremi’s chairman as quoted by Bloomberg.

According to MDIF, “Pluralis’ objective is to support plurality of news across Europe” – and this purchase is Pluralis’ second investment, following the acquisition of a 34% stake in Slovakian publisher Petit Press.

More from The Fix: MDIF invests in Slovakia’s Petit Press, bringing closure to press freedom saga 

Substack announced its plans to expand on the British market. This week, the company announced it had hired journalist and media manager Farrah Storr to lead writer partnerships in the region, working with “some of the best writers from around the U.K.”, according to the announcement.

The UK is already Substack’s second-largest market after the US by readers, writers, and revenue – and Storr is expected to spearhead the newsletter platform’s further growth in Britain. Substack has shown notable growth recently, having surpassed a threshold of one million paid subscribers.

More from The Fix: The (mostly) bright future of newsletters  

Bonus — Three more stories you might want to check out:

Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

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