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IGF 2019 The not-so-free market


Dynamic Coalition on the Sustainability of Journalism and News Media

Round Table - Circle - 90 Min


As the inaugural session of our Dynamic Coalition, this session is meant to introduce the DC to the IGF community, and consider the wider impact of the digital economy on democratic societies. It will also take a critical look at both the benefits and harms of a world where global platforms are dominant distributors of news and information as well as major forums for public debate. Currently, the sector-specific approach to media regulation is inadequate. Regulatory disparities between digital platforms and heavily-regulated media businesses lead to market advantages that these platforms have (and often abuse). Additionally, many states are taking an approach to online content regulation by essentially “subcontracting censorship” to digital platforms. Thus, the time is right for addressing market mechanism- and failure-related challenges as well as regulatory and ultimately information flow challenges in digital environments. One of the biggest problems with the debates raging in government legislatures and policy circles around the world is the lack of attention given to the news, journalism, and information ecosystems, and the implications of digital platforms’ market power on access and availability of quality news content on the Internet. To foster a pluralistic media ecosystem that strengthens democratic systems, combats dis/misinformation, and produces professional, high-quality, and fact-based news, media sustainability must be considered a significant priority. Any serious effort to address the myriad problems plaguing digital platforms must include competition authorities, economists, media policy experts as well as privacy, digital rights freedom of expression advocates. Building on this context, this session will explore five key issues/questions related to digital market mechanism- and failure-related challenges, including: (1) How to monitor digital platforms’ activities, their market behaviours, and the potential consequences of those activities for citizens, journalists, news media organisations, and advertisers. (2) Strategies to address regulatory imbalances – i.e., what are new approaches to the regulation of digital spaces? (3) How to better inform consumers/citizens of their rights when dealing with digital platforms. (4) What are the mechanisms that would support and sustain choice and quality of news and journalism in digital spaces? (5) Market power and behaviour of digital advertising’s two most-dominant companies, Google and Facebook, what can be done to address competition barriers, and how to promote plurality, sustainability, and diversity as well as overall consumer choices. The session will take a holistic approach to the topic by treating each of these factors as equally important pieces of the larger puzzle of media ecosystem failure as well as the subsequent problems it creates that are currently vexing governments.


Michael Oghia, Global Forum for Media Development


Mira Milosevic, Global Forum for Media Development


GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411