March 9: Public Lecture – Media Pluralism: Threats and Risks

Lecturer: Peggy Valcke

The JMSC will host a public lecture on media pluralism and how to measure threats and risks against it, on Tuesday, March 9 from 4-6pm in the Foundation Chamber, Eliot Hall, HKU.

This is a unique opportunity to hear Professor Peggy Valcke who is the leading European expert on media and internet law. She is a research professor at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium and teaches media law at the Catholic University of Brussels. Professor Valcke will lead a discussion about whether and how the concept of media pluralism exists in China and Hong Kong, especially as traditional media shifts to online media.

She will discuss whether the role of media pluralism is essential in preserving the right to information and freedom of expression that underpins the democratic process.

“Media pluralism is something that should interest all of us. Media represents society in all its diversity. A pluralistic media is essential not just for the political process but also for helping us to create our own identity. It is essential in the formation of public opinion and is a window on society. This means it’s of interest to not only journalists but also lawyers, economists, sociologists, and everyday people.”

Professor Valcke will present the Media Pluralism Monitor, the outcome of the Independent Study on Indicators for Media Pluralism, a major European Union Project that she directed. JMSC Associate Professor, Miklos Sukosd, who was the co-author of the Independent Study on Indicators for Media Pluralism, will moderate the discussion.

“The core of the talk will be about this monitoring tool,” said Professor Valcke. “We have developed a tool that brings together for the first time a wide range of aspects, looking not just at the concentration of the media but also at its content. We have set it up to detect risks to media pluralism – it works like a radar and it blinks when it sees danger.”

Alongside Professor Valcke will be a team of three JMSC representatives to expand the debate: Professor Ying Chan, Director of the JMSC and Co-dircetor of the China Media Project; Doreen Weisenhaus, Director of the Media Law Project and Associate Professor at the JMSC; and Jonathan Stray, computer specialist, blogger and MJ student. They will discuss media pluralism in Hong Kong and China and how this tool might be applicable.

Professor Valcke is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law & ICT, a research centre at the Faculty of Law of the Catholic University of Leuven, where she specialises in legal aspects of the information society. In 2006, she was visiting professor at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and lecturer in the Oxford/Annenberg Summer School.

As a member of the General Chamber in the Flemish Media Regulator and the Belgian Competition Council, she has published widely in international journals on a broad range of topics relating to electronic communications law, media law and competition law.

Peggy Valcke also edits the International Encyclopedia of Media Law and is a member of the editorial board of several journals including The Journal of Media Law, Computer, Law and Security Review and e-Competitions. She also participated in OfcomWatch, a weblog about communications policy and regulation in the UK and Europe.

All are welcome.

Venue: Foundation Chamber, Eliot Hall, JMSC, HKU.

Time: 4-6pm

Enquiries: Kylie Chan at kyliec@hku.hk or 22194416.