„About the responsibilities of content providers and users“

Prague from 18th to 20th March 2009

The conference organized within the Czech Presidency in the Council of the European Union under the title „About the responsibilities of content providers and users“ was held in Prague from 18th to 20th March 2009. There were about 260 participants from more than 30 countries. The event was inspired by a major task for the Member States, the transposition of the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive with the pivotal topic of media literacy. This included three main segments:

- Good practices in media literacy

- Understanding of the specific type of the commercial communication – product placement

- Raising awareness in relation to copyright

Presentations were delivered by the hosting Czech Minister of Culture, two members of the European Parliament, representatives of the Commission, national regulators, industry, academic society and projects having relevance to the topic.

As regards to media literacy, the main goal was to show the educational projects that are already running and could be inspiring for others. The conference demonstrated possible approaches to the issue of media literacy, thus possibly stimulating initiatives at national level. It was concluded that the cooperation and exchange of experience is the most important step that has to be taken. Albeit not 100% transferable from one country to another, media literacy and media education does exist, it is considerable and can be built on. The conference has confirmed that media literacy must be known about it by networking and that it is necessary to reinforce media and media-pedagogic research and cooperation with the private sector.

Product placement is a newly regulated institute in the AVMS directive. The time when regulatory approach options are being discussed was the right time to discuss, also, the way of making the public acquainted with this new type of regulated commercial message, of explaining it and understanding it. The conference has agreed that product placement is a good reason for media literacy and that the best defense against bad effects of product placement is a media literate society.

The last segment of the conference was aimed at awareness campaigns related to copyright. Modern technologies and rapid technological development enable copyright infringement at larger scale than in the past. At the same time, digital age brings the content providers increased opportunities to make content widely available through the new business models. Positively oriented campaigns explaining users and consumers the importance of copyright protection and the all intellectual and financial investment needed for creation of new works still remain one of the key tool of consumers´ education. It is also very important to provide consumers with information where to find content legally, easily, consumer-friendly – and in many cases almost for free. The conference has shown that public awareness projects are indispensable in the effort to fight piracy.

The results of discussions in the 3 parallel sessions have shown real convergences pushing at the agenda Media Literacy as a key issue. Associating these 3 themes confirmed that there is a need of a “mixed” and converging approach between education, regulation and content providers responsibilities. The conference at a glance highlighted the necessity for all the sectors to take their own responsibilities. The conference avoided to focus only on Media Literacy as “the” global solution on any problems linked to the media society…and also the easy screen to hide the necessity of the media professionals to take part of the public responsibility they have, also regarding respect of Human Rights, especially right to expression, right to privacy and prohibition of discrimination.

More details about the conference, including all the presentations, can be found at

http://www.mkcr.cz/en/media-a-audiovize/default.htm

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