This book is a collection of expert insights on EU media and communications policies in the era of convergence. The media and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) sectors are at the heart of a competitive and inclusive European knowledge society. Since the late 1980s, the boundaries between these sectors have been blurring. Anno 2009, convergence is, finally, starting to take shape. And it is not just about technically migrating the offline world into a virtual one, or vice versa. It is about a much bigger change. New technologies enable fundamental socio-economic innovations as well as a restructuring of value chains. Social computing applications such as blogs and P2P networks push end-users to the centre stage in innovation. The culture of participating, of sharing, developing and using content in new, incremental ways, anywhere and anytime, is spreading fast. People as individuals, as citizens and as consumers can benefit from a completely new array of opportunities.
The fundamental changes caused by convergence also push previously distinct policies together. The objectives of such policies may be quite diverged, however. Conflicts may come to the fore, when economic profitability, legal stability and predictability, basic human rights and sociocultural values are pitched against one another. The developments render the task of public authorities extremely challenging. How to keep up with the current developments - or even better, how to predict the future scenarios - of the converging information society, so as to provide an optimal societal framework? How to take everyone’s interests into account, when the value chains are being completely transformed, when stakeholder groups such as consumers, content producers, network operators, right holders and public authorities interact in the constantly evolving mesh of a true digital environment? Much is at stake: competitiveness and jobs, social inclusion and cultural diversity, market opportunities and fundamental rights.
It appears therefore necessary to fundamentally reconsider the existing legal and policy frameworks. Have they become completely outdated? What are the main problems, and how should they be addressed? These are the very questions that top experts address in this book. Rethinking European Media and Communications Policy provides ample insights on the challenging task of crafting inclusive, competitive and culturally diverse media and communications policy for the converging Europe.
"The fast developing, converging digital environment is causing a revolution in the way people interact socially and commercially. EU policies must swiftly adapt to the new challenges. They must help the citizen-consumers and the businesses to fully seize the new opportunities. This book is a thoughtful contribution to the debate on the challenges that lay before us".