The Goals and Principles of the Simplification of the MPM2009

The goal of the simplification is to preserve the multidisciplinary character of the MPM2009 inventory of risk indicators, but to improve its applicability, to streamline the data collection procedures, and to enhances its usability as a research and policy instrument. The following major aspects have considered:

Relevance: the scope of the MPM2009 is considered to be too wide. A number of indicators address issues that may not be part of a truly operational definition of media pluralism. Other indicators tackle information that is only indirectly related to the goal of media freedom and pluralism to guarantee and facilitate the presence of well-informed citizens in relevant current and political affairs and public debates;

Applicability: some indicators are particularly complex, consume both time and money, and therefore hardly fit within the tight timeframe and budgetary limitations of the MPM2014 and future applications;

Measurability of indicators: several MPM2009 indicators seem not to be fully convincing in their role as effective instruments for the evaluation of media pluralism; there are also indicators whose measurement could be considered overwhelmingly subjective;

Cross-country validity: some indicators appear too idiosyncratic, i.e., they measure aspects of the functioning of a media system that are either not applicable to all Member States, or that have different meanings and impacts on the level of media pluralism, depending on the country context and the different political and social structures of those countries.

 

Led by these principles, the simplification of the MPM2009 included the following steps:

  • Narrowing the scope of application of the Monitor (Relevance): in line with recent policies in the area of media pluralism, as well as the current academic trends, the MPM2014 focuses only on the indicators that fall, or that can be strictly referred to, under the general definition of “news and current affairs”. As a result, any instrument of information or entertainment that does not fall into the “news and current affairs” category is now considered to be outside of the scope of the MPM tool. News and current affairs media platforms and programmes are the current focus of the monitoring, as one aspect of the standards of democratic functioning (Copenhagen political criteria of institutional guarantees for democracy, human rights and minority protection). However, all indicators that assess the general universality of media coverage and the outreach of the diffusion of information are included in the revised MPM. They are considered to be basic indicators that are relevant to the infrastructure and universality principles as a whole. In particular, indicators on pluralism vis à vis minority coverage, outreach to disabled people, and media literacy, are preserved as part of this holistic principle.
  • Clustering the indicators according to more general principles (Applicability): due to the shared risk domain and the overall similarity of a number of indicators, they were clustered, where appropriate, in order to achieve a higher level of usability. Apart from streamlining the data collection, such clustering makes the results of the MPM much more readable, and clearer to the policy makers and the wider public;
  • Simplifying the procedures for data collection (Applicability, Measurability of indicators): this principle is applied, especially in the cases of content analysis and panels of experts, in order to assure the applicability of the measurements within the time and budget constraints of this project, as well as to streamline the data collection and make it easier for further elaboration and scrutiny.
  • Revision of the universality (Cross-country validity): this principle is applied on each indicator, in order to analyse the validity of each indicator in the respective countries as an actual measurement of pluralism risk. Additionally, it is applied on the Monitor as a whole, in order to assure the lack of bias in the measurement instrument as a whole, i.e. preference of a particular media system not based on the actual risk to pluralism

 

Outcome of the Simplification

As a whole, the outcome of the simplification is the reduction of the indicators from 166 indicators in the MPM2009 to 34 indicators in the MPM2014. The risks that are no longer covered by the MPM are listed in the table below:

 

Risk domain Risks that are not covered in MPM2014
Basic domain —————
Cultural Pluralism in the Media

1 Insufficient media representation of European culture
2 Insufficient media representation of national culture
3 Insufficient proportion of independent production
4 Insufficient proportion of in-house production
5 Insufficient representation of world cultures
6 Insufficient representation of the various cultural and social groups in mainstream media content and services
9 Insufficient representation of different cultural and social groups in HR in the media sector

Geographic Pluralism in the Media 4 Insufficient representation of regional and local communities in HR in the media sector
5 Dominance of a limited number of information sources for local issues
Pluralism and Media Ownership Control 5 High ownership concentration of magazines
7 High ownership concentration in book publishing
9 High vertical concentration
Political Pluralism in the Media 8 Insufficient citizen activity and political impact in online media
Pluralism of Media Types and Genres 2 Lack of/under-representation of/dominance of media genres
3 Lack of sufficient market resources to support range of media
5 Insufficient engagement of PSM in new media
6 Insufficient attention paid to public participation.