Background

The new media revolution seems to have overturned many old certainties, yet is that a reality or merely a mirage? Is the technological change matched by fundamental shifts of power and influence, or will the traditional big players continue to wield vast influence? The New Media Forum to be held in the Plenary Chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, 27 June 2012, will ask these and many other crucial questions, and seek to find telling answers. This unique meeting in a unique setting will bring together politicians, traditional and new media, academics, NGOs, judges and leaders from the music, film and book industries in a pan-European, and indeed global, dialogue.

On a European level, it is widely accepted that press freedom, pluralism and participation are considered pillars of democracy and have to be protected and supported. Press freedom enables citizens to take part in the democratic process and to form an opinion on the basis of accurate and full information about political, social and cultural events and developments, but this is only possible if the media offers a pluralistic choice of topics, views and voices and access is universally granted. There is a growing consensus that media concentration is a problem in many European countries. Moreover, the rise of the internet – while creating wonderful opportunities for enhanced diversity – also brings threats to the traditional media, which has exacerbated the issues.

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