Madrid, 1 September 2013 – Access Info and the Open Society Media Program would like your input on our draft recommendations for improving the transparency of media ownership in Europe – please fill in this questionnaire – it has 10 questions and takes 8 minutes: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TransparencyMediaOwnership
Access Info and the OSMP has developed a set of recommendations which are open for public consultation and will be presented to the European Union, European Parliament, Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as national governments. The recommendations can be downloaded in full here . They include:
1. Transparency on ownership of the media – Disclosure to a national regulator and to the public of the essential basic information. For example: the name and contact details of the media outlet, size of shareholdings over 5% etc.
2. Information is findable and free – Clear signposts and easy accessibility on a website or central government portal.
3. Regularly updated information – Changes to data which is required to be made public should be disclosed to a media authority and on the organisation’s website within 10 working days of commencement of broadcasting / publishing.
4. Open formats and free for reuse – Must ensure that the entire media ownership database is available with no charges which limit reuse and with no restrictions on reuse
5. Progressive expansion – Should progess towards greater transparency through mandatory disclosure of more detailed information about owners with over 5% shareholding in the media company, for example positions held by any owner in a political party or in a religious organisation.
6. Transparency of influence – Disclosure of information about who controls the media (aside from the owner) and therefore has great influence. For example: sources of revenue, key executive officers.
7. Clear and precise legal framework – The provisions regarding disclosure of media ownership should not be unduly burdensome for a media outlet and the content of the reporting requirements set out in the different laws should be clear and consistent.
8. Oversight by independent body – A body such as a media regulator which already oversees registration of broadcast media should be mandated to monitor and ensure compliance with laws.
9. Direct disclosure to the public – Media should be required to disclose directly to the public the same information as that submitted to the media authority.
10. Transnational access and comparability – Data collected at the national level for all three media sectors (broadcast, print and comparable online) should be made available to other government regulators and the public via a shared system.