The relationship between journalism and digital technology in today’s world is nothing less than intrinsic. Given that contemporary news media and journalism organisations produce and distribute content as well as interact with their audiences through digital technologies, the future, overall sustainability, and even existence of professional journalism and news media is now inextricably linked to the way different layers of the Internet are regulated and managed.
In fact, there is hardly an aspect of this sector – which includes organisations that range from news publishers and digital news platforms, to investigative journalism collectives, and local, regional, community, and cross-border journalism networks – that is not touched by Internet policy and how the Internet and information and communications technologies (ICTs) are governed. Internet governance discussions also impact the work of the journalism support and media development community, and its commitment to supporting strong, independent, and pluralistic media ecosystems.
Yet, journalism and news media perspectives are consistently missing from these important conversations despite their increasing relevance and emphasis on multi-stakeholder inclusion. Internet actors and policy-makers in the age of digital convergence are directly shaping the future of journalism and news media, and the issues discussed – from how digital markets are governed, to the way artificial intelligence (AI) impacts content – all require voices from the journalism and news media communities to be heard.
Emphasising the need to include and amplify such voices in Internet governance discussions, the founding stakeholders organised a symposium on media development and Internet governance at the 12th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2017, which resulted in the production of an issue paper that was launched at the second symposium at IGF 2018 in Paris, France. The document formulates a clear and concise agenda by outlining key issues relevant to the journalism support and media development community vis-à-vis Internet policy-making, development, and regulation, as well as providing recommendations for common priority areas of engagement. The issue paper specifically identified one such area that urgently requires greater policy support: the sustainability of journalism and news media in the digital age, and included establishing a Dynamic Coalition (DC) within the IGF as a key recommendation.
Forming a multi-stakeholder Dynamic Coalition focusing on the sustainability of journalism and news media within the IGF ecosystem provides a clear space to welcome both new and existing stakeholders into IGF discussions and processes, while also inviting more opportunities to engage with important Internet policy matters and sharing information. Moreover, there are many opportunities to collaborate with existing DCs on relevant focus areas while also addressing policy areas that are not currently within the scope of the existing DCs and other IGF structures.
We invite interested stakeholders from across the IGF community to join our efforts, and encourage you to contact us for more information or to collaborate with us. For more information, see our official Charter.
This Dynamic Coalition aims to address key policy challenges that impact the sustainability of journalism and news media in the digital age.
By bringing together stakeholders who have traditionally been absent from digital policy discussions, we strive to amplify the voices from the journalism, news media, journalism support, and media development communities when shaping digital policy and informing regulation. Indeed, such policies have significant impact on news media sustainability (including individual media outlets, journalistic networks, and media markets), but also impact a range of topics related to the broader IGF ecosystem, such as freedom of expression, access to information, digital inclusion, and algorithmic transparency.
We also recognise, however, the importance of collaborating with and learning from the IGF’s rich community of stakeholders. By uniting under the banner of this DC with stakeholders from across the IGF community, we will strive to develop an inclusive and diverse group of voices to address how the IGF can support digital policy areas that include but are not limited to:
- Challenges to media sustainability such as: advertising dynamics, data governance policies, analytics, transparency, and intellectual property and taxation rules.
- Content monetisation and sustainable economic models for journalism and news media organisations online.
- Regulation and market rules for the new era – e.g., regulation of data flows for the Internet economy, antitrust action, and media consolidation. This also includes market regulation failure and its relationship to the rise of disinformation, misinformation, and other online harms, media plurality, and new threats to democratic systems.
- Emerging issues significant to media innovation and viability like copyright in the digital environment, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic accountability and transparency.
- Striking the right balance online between the safeguard of free speech and that of other human rights such as dignity, privacy, etc.
To achieve our goals, this DC will conduct the following activities:
- Inform: We will regularly create opportunities to address the Internet governance community to explain what are the challenges are to journalism and news media sustainability, and how they are directly impacting the spread of disinformation, threats to freedom of expression, and other relevant digital policy areas. It will also entail creating fact sheets for members of the IGF community to better inform them about the linkages and relevance of media sustainability to digital policy.
- Disseminate: This DC will act as a central hub to share information, connect with new and existing stakeholders, and coordinate both within and beyond the IGF ecosystem. We will use our respective channels and tools (such as articles, blog posts, newsletters, conferences, GFMD’s Internet Governance Working Group, and more) to spread that same information, and the fact that we are sharing our point of view, to our constituencies, with the objective to ensure that we keep our peers interested and engaged.
- Publish: We will create and promote an annual report that highlights our work over the past 12 months, which will also include a list of that year’s threats to media sustainability, why they matter for digital rights, and solutions to address them via digital policy processes. This will not only add value for others within the IGF ecosystem, but will also better position ourselves to approach donors and ensure our DC is financially sustainable.
- Advocate: We will ensure that the voices of the journalism and news media community are included in digital policy discussions and processes.
We plan to conduct these activities within the IGF ecosystem (including its national and regional initiatives), as well as within processes and events in the wider Internet governance landscape, such as the RightsCon Summit Series, Internet Freedom Festival (IFF), MisInfoCon, ICANN, and more. The DC will meet annually at the IGF to highlight journalists’ voices, review our annual activity, take stock of current Internet and digital policy-related issues facing the journalism and news media community, and plan the next year’s activities.
More information on the group’s working modality can be found in the DC-Sustainability charter, ratified on 27 November 2019, which is available here.
Mailing list address: [email protected]
Subscribe to the mailing list: https://groups.io/g/dc-sustainability
Note: The Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) will, at least initially, serve as the secretariat of this DC, and coordinate its administrative tasks.
An asterisk (*) signifies a founding member
- Daniel O’Maley, Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA)*
- François Nel, Innovation Research Group
- Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
- Lena Nitsche, Deutsche Welle Akademie*
- Michael J. Oghia, Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)*
- Mira Milosevic, Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)*
- Steffen Leidel, Deutsche Welle Akademie*
- Timothy Karr, Free Press
- Courtney Radsch, Committee to Protect Journalists
- Elena Perotti, WAN-IFRA*
- Michael Kende, Analysys Mason
- Susan Abbott, Cross-Pollinate Consulting
- Charlotte Altenhöner-Dion, Council of Europe
- Małgorzata Pęk, Council of Europe
- UNESCO (confirmed by Xianhong Hu)
- DC-Sustainability 2021 Annual report
- DC-Sustainability 2020 Annual Substantive Report
- DC-Sustainability 2020 Annual Work Report
- DC-Sustainability 2019 Annual Report
- DC-Sustainability charter (ratified on 27 November 2019)
- DC-Sustainability Proposal for Establishment
- Governing Digital Convergence: An Issue Paper on Media Development and Internet Governance – https:/bit.ly/IssuePaperV4
- GFMD’s Internet Governance Resource Centre – https://gfmd.info/internet-governance/