News Media Europe

New European internet rules: putting an end to the wild wild west?

Press releases , April 23, 2022


-Brussels, 23 April 2022-

The adoption of new European internet rules today will lead to a more trust online, according to the European news publishers. Under the new rules, large onlineplatforms and search engines like Facebook and Google,need to provide users with more transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the way they tackle illegal content and use mass data.

Wout van Wijk, Executive Director at News Media Europe, declared: “It was time. After Christchurch, Cambridge Analytica, Capitol Hill, it was time for tech giants to play by new rules. News Media Europe expects the Digital Services Act, together with the Digital Markets Act, to bring radical changes to the dynamics between online platforms and press publishers”.

But even under these new rules, press freedom in Europe is still very much at the mercy of Big Tech.

Wout van Wijk,  Executive Director at News Media Europe, said: “Publishers are concerned that online platforms can continue to moderate or censor journalistic content at their discretion. This basically puts press publishers and press freedom at the mercy of big tech, without any concrete obligation to cooperate with newsrooms for the protection of journalistic content. This gives these platforms a lot of power as they are judge and jury deciding what content European citizens are allowed to consume”.

Given the short lifespan of a news article, the a posteriori complaint mechanism is irrelevant. Greater and long-term cooperation between platforms and press publishers is not only important from a business point of view. It is critical for democracy.

The new rules on online advertising are essential for press publishers to build trust with audiences while keeping viable business models. They will cover the protection of users in respect of their sensitive data, minors and so-called “dark patterns” across online platforms and information gateways. But publishers warn that these rules should not be used as a backdoor to ban targeted ads, an indispensable source of revenues for independent news media.

About News Media Europe:

News Media Europe is the voice of the progressive news media industry in Europe, representing over 2,500 news brands in print, online, radio and TV, through national associations from sixteen countries. Together, we defend key principles which are vital to us: protecting the freedom of the press, championing the digital future of our industry, and ensuring that the value of content is properly protected.

For further information please contact:

Aurore Raoux, EU policy manager