National workshop - Portugal

National workshop of the Jean Monnet Network on European Media and Platform Policies (EuromediApp)

28 January 2022
Venue: Communication and Society Research Centre, University of Minho

Program

What are the most prominent challenges when discussing digital platform regulation? What kind of debates are taking place in Portugal regarding the regulation of digital platforms? What are the predominant research and policy topics in this arena? What is being ignored in the public agenda? What measures have already been taken in Portugal with an impact on the content that citizens access and on the development of the media and communication sectors or subsectors? What are the most critical dimensions on digital platforms beyond the regulation of content?

These were some of the questions put to the participants of the national workshop by the Session’s moderator Helena Sousa:

  • Luís Filipe Simões, president of the Journalists’ Union
  • João Pedro Figueiredo, member of board of the national Media Regulatory Entity (Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social – ERC)
  • Madalena Oliveira, Co-Chair of the PolObs
  • Joaquim Fidalgo, researcher of the Communication and Society Research Centre
  • Luís António Santos, researcher of the Communication and Society Research Centre
  • Elsa Costa e Silva, researcher of the Communication and Society Research Centre


The session was attended by members from the National Press Association, the ERC, media researchers and teachers, journalists and PhD students.

During the workshop, the speakers and the audience had the opportunity to identify conceptual problems (e.g ‘platforms’, ‘harmful content’, etc.), jurisdiction difficulties (which legislation should apply), functional ambiguities between regulatory entities both at national and international level,
The developments in the preparation the Digital Services Act and Digital Market Acts were also debated. Despite the uncertainties regarding the final documents, the potential impact on Portuguese regulatory entities (media and others) was scrutinized.

Journalistic freedom and freedom of expression was also a relevant point as there are concerns regarding intrusive legislation even if to protect from harmful content or disinformation. Questions of boundaries, the nature of discourses (journalistic material and informative non-journalistic content) were matter of concern from different participants as laws might have non-intentional negative consequences.

The role of citizens and audiences was perceived as highly relevant even if not enough to steer future developments regarding digital platform regulations. The infrastructural design of the platforms, the algorithmic developments, surveillance mechanisms and conditions for the development of public service oriented digital platforms were other issues on debate.

Info in Portuguese can be found here: https://polobs.pt/workshop-a-regulacao-das-plataformas-e-o-interesse-publico/

Report by Helena Sousa, Communication and Society Research Centre (February, 2022)