The overall goal of this research project is to create the conditions for an implementation of the MPM in all EU Member States. In order to fulfil this goal, the pilot test implementation aims at the following particular goals: (1) re-designing the MPM in order to improve its applicability (see Simplification section here or section 2.1. in the project report for details), (2) updating the internet related indicators (see section 2.2. in the project report for details), (3) creating a full methodological operationalisation, standardisation and guidance on the application of each MPM indicator (see Appendix 2 User Guide in the project report for details), (4) testing and enhancing the applicability and validity of the overall revised instrument (see the project report for details).
The data collection included two tracks: (1) data about the media pluralism risks in the selected countries, and (2) information about the procedural details and challenges in applying the MPM.
The direct data collection is administered by the local research teams, under the instruction, supervision and quality control of the CMPF. There is an attempt to rely only on official data sources, and/or sources with a high level of reliability and trust, all of which are thoroughly documented and archived.
The data collection is conducted following a detailed User Guide (see Appendix 2 User Guide in the project report for details), which provides instructions on the data collection procedure and on the calculation and estimation of the operational scores of the risk indicators. The User Guide includes a short description of each indicator, the method of its measurement, the data sources, and a detailed score grid listing all of the variables included in the respective risk.
The User Guide applies a standardised and consistent scoring-grid structure throughout all of the indicators. The scoring grid is constructed either as three scores points (low, medium or high risk), or as “yes” (existent; related to low risk) or “no” (non-existent; related to high risk) scores. Precise thresholds and criteria are provided for each score.
Additionally, a small-scale content analysis of media production has been applied experimentally, in order to measure indicator 29 Political bias in the media.
The existence of media pluralism risks that cannot be clearly quantified demands the introduction of qualitative measurement for such risks. In order to guarantee and verify the objective evaluation of such indicators, the MPM2014 introduces a special procedure that involves a country panel of experts in the evaluation of such indicators in each country.
The panels are composed of established national specialists with a substantial knowledge and experience in the media and communications fields, and with a good reputation in the professional community. Their composition is as follows:
2 Academic/NGO researchers on social/political/cultural issues that are related to the media;
1 Academic/NGO researcher in media law and/or economics;
1 Representative of the media regulators;
1 Representative of a journalistic organisation;
1 Representative of a publishers’ organisation;
1 Representative of a broadcasters’ organisation.
Each member of the Panel of Experts is invited to evaluate (and suggest corrections if necessary) the scores that have been established by the local research team. In the case of a disagreement on the indicator scoring between the country’s correspondents and the panel of experts, the CMPF examines the justifications for each scoring and takes the final decision on that scoring.
The creation of an online platform to collect data from the country teams is one of the practical key innovations of the MPM2014, and this gives an added value to the feasibility and transparency of the project itself. The innovations to the platform developed by CMPF are several:
– it allows an automatic scoring of the risks, as it links the final value of any given indicator to the formula for creating a joint score for the included variables, provided by the User Guide to assess the value of the indicator itself.
– it allows an on-going monitoring of a country’s implementation and the possibility to check and compare the data collection in real time, and provide feedback.
– it provides a database and thorough record of the collected data.