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What the European Union’s Digital Day 2021 Means to Digital Publishers in Europe

Author’s Note: At first glance, this subject may seem unrelated to Trojan Digital Review’s singular focus on digital publishing; however, many Americans (and their family members) living in Europe are US military members, international news journalists, or global company employees, and earn their living as writers.  Having Europe-wide, advanced technology which enables secure, reliable handling of their digital communications and publishing is vital.

On March 19, the European Union’s government ministers signed declarations to work together and share resources “to promote international connectivity, incentivize the rollout of clean digital technologies, and improve the regulatory environment for start-ups and scale-ups,” according to a  press release from the European Union.   

Twenty-seven members signed the declaration which will reinforce connectivity between Europe and partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, as well as across Europe.  The focus will be on satellites, network links, and ground and undersea cables.  According to the release, “The EU already has strong data protection standards and high-quality internal connectivity.  By improving its global connectivity networks, it can become a global, secure, and agile data centre.”

Thierry Breton (France), Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “The Digital Day is an important avenue for Member States to come together, around key digital goals. The new commitments that Member States made today are also evidence of our determination in the EU to work together for greater digital leadership by 2030.” The Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margarethe Vestager (Denmark), stated, “The new commitments made today strengthen our joint ambitions for a human-centred approach to digitalisation.” These comments reflect the EU’s commitment of support not only on the corporate level, but also improve the day-to-day life of the citizens of the European community.  Greater connectivity will help corporations and small businesses, and start-ups equally. 

Their support for everyone across the board, both businesses and citizens alike, means better connectivity for writers. They can depend on faster connections for submitting their work, and have confidence their communication is secure.  For the journalists who need to call their home office, the commission is also working on recalculating the roaming charges on the telecommunication network.

Also of interest to news writers, the European News Media Forum was held simultaneously with the EU’s Digital Day 2021.  Some points were covered by both agencies, such as the safety and protection of international journalists. According to their press release, “The European Commission launched a dialogue on the protection of journalists in the EU with a wide range of stakeholders, including journalists and their associations, news media companies, representatives of media councils, European Parliament, Member States and regulatory authorities as well as international partners.”

This action is in response to the 2018 murders of investigative journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia,  Ján Kuciak, and Viktoria Marinova, all of whom were killed in EU states. This Europe-wide concern for violations of press and media freedom encompasses fact-finding, advocacy, monitoring, and awareness raising. It will bring violations to the forefront, and provide practical help to journalists under threat. Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová (Czech Republic), said, “The increasing threats and attacks against journalists are threats and attacks against democracy as a whole. For the first time, the Commission is working on an initiative dedicated to the safety of journalists, which should bring tangible improvements on the ground.”

Thierry Breton (France), Commissioner for Internal Market, added, “Media freedom cannot be taken for granted, we must actively defend it, particularly with the increased risk of online attacks in the digital age. We must ensure that journalists can play their crucial role in our democracies by guaranteeing that they work in complete safety. Today we are launching a dialogue on how to increase their protection, facilitate cooperation among them and help them acquire the digital skills needed.”

As this article from Matical states, “The Digital Europe programme is addressed to strengthening Europe’s position as a global digital reference, focused on people and their wellbeing.  According to the EC, the digital transition should work for all, putting people first and opening opportunities for business.  It will be based on three main complimentary pillars to ensure that Europe seizes the opportunity and gives its citizens, businesses, and governments control over digital transformation.” The first of these pillars, and the most relevant to this audience, is a technology that works for the people. As the world becomes more interconnected, the more it is at risk from malicious cyber activity.  The technology must be trustworthy and secure. The EU’s commitment to increase cybersecurity for all of Europe is important and necessary for all people in Europe.

The EU’s plan to “safeguard values and fundamental rights and security” while respecting social differences across the European Union is impressive.  This article from Concilium sums it up best:

“Digital technologies are changing not only the way people communicate, but more broadly how people live and work. With further impetus from the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU is working to accelerate the technological transition. Digital solutions help create jobs, advance education, boost competitiveness and innovation, and can improve the lives of citizens.”