Digital Platform Policy Spring? Promises and Trajectories for Digital Platform Regulation

The “Communication Law and Policy” Section of the European Communications Research and Education Association (ECREA) and the Jean Monnet Network “European Media and Platform Policy” (EuromediApp) invite abstracts for theoretical and empirical papers on the topic Digital Platform Policy Spring? Promises and Trajectories for Digital Platform Regulation. This workshop will be a unique opportunity to bring together those investigating the processes of regulating media and digital intermediaries in Europe and beyond. The workshop will take place in Salzburg, Austria, on 2-3 November 2023. It is hosted by the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Salzburg.


Wednesday, 1 November


Pre-conference programme: Sound of Music

Thursday, 2 November, Edmundsburg

9:00 – 9:15

Welcome and opening

9:15 – 10:15

Keynote speech by Natali Helberger (University of Amsterdam)

10:15 – 10:45

Coffee break

10:45 – 12:00

Panel 1: Digital Platform Regulation in Europe

  • The impact of digital platforms on inequalities and disparities: A legal-empirical analysis of the European measures (Gergely Ferenc Lendvai)
  • The Digital Services Act and challenges for freedom of expression (Jens Pohlmann)
  • Dominant platforms as challenges for regulation policy in Europe (Werner Meier and Josef Trappel)
  • Same play, different actors: what does it mean for digital platforms to be gatekeepers in the public sphere (Blanca Basanta, Ana Azurmendi and Carles Llorens)

12:00 – 13:00

Panel 2: Public Interest Content I

  • Safeguarding news content on online platforms: addressing the incoherencies between the regulatory approaches (Lidia Dutkiewicz)
  • The great reset: news organisations’ efforts to regain (opinion) power, break dependency, and form a “counterpower” (Theresa Seipp, Natali Helberger, Jef Ausloos and Claes de Vreese)
  • A capabilities framework for developing digital platform policy (Amit Schejter and Baruch Shomron)

13:00 – 14:00


14:00 – 15:15

Panel 3: Media Ownership and Concentration

  • Comparing initiatives that monitor and assess media diversity in light of (online) media ownership concentration: Towards a harmonized assessment framework (Heritiana Ranaivoson and Adelaida Afilipoaie)
  • From media concentration law to holistic regulation of media power – a threat-oriented approach to promoting media diversity (Pascal Schneiders, Daniel Stegmann and Birgit Stark)
  • Media ownership transparency and control: Europe’s recent policy activism (Josef Trappel and Tales Tomaz)
  • From media ownership to content control: Media autonomy and concentration in the EU’s digital and media policy (Iva Nenadic and Marijana Grbeša-Zenzerović)

15:15 – 15:45

Coffee break

15:45 – 17:00

Panel 4: Public Interest Content II

  • Media pluralism online: exploring new safeguards for PSM content delivery (Krisztina Rozgonyi)
  • Implementing due prominence in Flanders: an analysis of stakeholder views (Tim Raats and Adelaida Afilipoaie)
  • Public sphere governance in times of platformization: taking a comprehensive perspective on the production and dissemination of content across intermediaries (Manuel Puppis, Stefano Pedrazzi, Sabrina Heiland and Michelle Kulig)
  • Public broadcasters as digital intermediaries: The adoption of ATSC 3.0 in the United States (Christopher Ali and Sydney Forde)


Dinner (Stadtalm, walk from 18:30)

Friday, 3 November, Edmundsburg

9:00 – 10:15

Panel 5: Harmful Content

  • An appropriate response to online hate speech? An evaluation of the Digital Services Act (Pascal Schneiders)
  • Evidence-based regulation of disinformation on online platforms (Rita Gsenger)
  • Online Governance against Misinformation in Decentralized Social Media (Johannes Bennke)
  • Conceptualising and assessing ‘systemic risk’ to freedom of expression and civic discourse from very large online platforms (Sally Broughton Micova and Andrea Calef)

10:15 – 10:45

Coffee break

10:45 – 11:45

Panel 6: Digital Platform Regulation in Latin America

  • Rethinking regulatory approaches: the case of PL2630 in Brazil (Fernando Horta)
  • Why no market power in Brazilian platform regulation (Tales Tomaz)
  • Platform regulation in the Global South: Proposals from Latin American organizations (Sheley Gomes and Paulo Victor Purificação Melo)

11:45 – 12:45

Panel 7: Algorithms and Recommender Systems

  • Datasets as a condition for the development of diversity-aware recommender systems (M. Z. van Drunen and S. Vrijenhoek)
  • Algorithms, Epistemic Wellbeing and Epistemic Welfare: A New Framework to Understand Governance of Recommender Systems (Aaron Hyzen, Michelle Kulig, Steve Paulussen, Manuel Puppis and Hilde Van den Bulck)
  • The Digital Services Act’s opaque view on algorithms (Paulo Ferreira and Luís António Santos)

12:45 – 13:00



Sandwich-Lunch and Farewell


Register here for the workshop before 15 September. Participation fee includes the expenses for the dinner on Thursday, 2 November:

70 € for PhD candidates, faculty staff and employees of non-academic organisations

30 € for BA/MA students and people affiliated to institutions of “soft currency countries”

After registering, you will receive instructions for doing a bank transfer to the University of Salzburg.


Digital platforms and intermediaries are increasingly disseminating news and structuring news consumption across the globe. They have become crucial spaces of civic discourse and cultural expression. Unique levels of ownership concentration in the hands of few extremely large industrial conglomerates dominate digital media landscapes. Checks and balances from media and telecommunication policy do not apply to these new players, enabling digital platforms and intermediaries to exercise unprecedented power in various ways.

While implicitly accepting or even fostering media ownership concentration, European institutions have lately recognized the various challenges for media freedom, freedom of expression and the quality of news created by digital platforms and intermediaries. Digital Markets Act (DMA), Digital Services Act (DSA) and European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) address such challenges. These European initiatives also have a geopolitical dimension, shaping and being shaped by developments in other rich countries and in the Global South. This workshop is dedicated to discussing the nature of such challenges and the appropriateness of policy solutions offered by the European Commission, national governments from around the globe or national and international regulatory bodies.

Thus, the workshop invites interdisciplinary contributions interested in digital platform policy, regulation and policy implementation. We welcome submissions from political economy, policy and governance studies, media and communication law, and other approaches and fields. We welcome theoretical, methodological and empirical submissions, case studies and comparative work. Innovative use of methods is encouraged. The organizers are especially interested in the following areas, in particular in the intersection between European and non-European problems and solutions:

  • Digital intermediaries and media ownership concentration: What are the implications of ownership concentration on freedoms, news organizations, content, dissemination of news, and the public discourse at large? How do current policy developments such as the Anti-Money Laundering Directive affect platform and media ownership transparency?
  • Editorial independence in the digital platform environment: How far, and how, do digital platforms affect editorial independence of incumbent newsroom structures?
  • Quality of content and combat of misinformation: What is the economics of high-quality content in the digital environment? How are policy interventions seeking to fund quality content, and with what implications?
  • Public interest content in digital intermediaries: How are platforms dealing with prominence and discoverability of content? Which legal measures can be put in place to ensure that public service media and further public-oriented content remain visible in digital inter-mediaries, including devices such as smart TVs?
  • Inequalities and disparities: How do digital platforms and intermediaries contribute to increase or diminish inequalities and disparities in the field of communication? How effective are policy measures to combat such inequalities and disparities?
  • Inclusion: How can digital platforms engage marginalized and diasporic communities towards more inclusion? What are the links between technological infrastructure, innovative business models and inclusive media practices aimed at fostering justice and participation?