Name: Theresa Seipp
Theresa is a PhD candidate at IViR (Institute for Information Law, UvA) and is part of the research team at the AI, Media, Democracy Lab. Her research focuses on governing AI in the media, opinion power and political power of online platforms, and media (concentration) law.
Theresa holds degrees from the University of Groningen (LL.B., LL.M. cum laude) and from Ghent University (LL.M.). She previously worked in the field of data protection law and researched at the Leibniz-Institute for Media Research, Hans-Bredow-Institute, in Hamburg on topics related to EU media law and policy and AI tools in journalism.
| Drunen, M. van, Fahy, R., Seipp, T.|
In: Journal of Media Law, 2023.
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This comment examines the definition of ‘media’ under the recently-proposed European Media Freedom Act (EMFA), and highlights its potential flaws, while pointing to possible considerations for future improvement. Notably, the narrow service-based approach to defining ‘media’ under Article 2 EMFA appears to be in conflict with the functional approach to defining media under European and international human rights law. Additionally, a lack of transparency and safeguards regarding how the criteria of ‘editorial independence’ is to be assessed, especially under Article 17 EMFA, is problematic. The risk that such decisions are made based on commercial and/or political considerations rather than established standards of media freedom must be avoided, especially when platforms are to assess editorial independence.
| Seipp, T.|
In: Media and Communication, vol. 11, iss. 2, pp. 392-405, 2023.
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Power concentrations are increasing in today’s media landscape. Reasons for this include increasing structural and technological dependences on digital platform companies, as well as shifts in opinion power and control over news production, distribution, and consumption. Digital opinion power and platformised media markets have prompted the need for a re-evaluation of the current approach. This article critically revisits and analyses media concentration rules. To this end, I employ a normative conceptual framework that examines ”opinion power in the platform world” at three distinct levels (individual citizen, institutional newsroom, and media ecosystem). At each level, I identify the existing legal tools and gaps in controlling power and concentration in the digital age. Based on that, I offer a unifying theoretical framework for a “digital media concentration law,” along with core concepts and guiding principles. I highlight policy goals and fields that are outside the traditional scope yet are relevant for addressing issues relating to the digital age. Additionally, the emerging European Union regulatory framework—specifically the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, and the European Media Freedom Act—reflects an evolving approach regarding platforms and media concentration. On a final note, the analysis draws from the mapping and evaluation results of a Europe-wide study on media pluralism and diversity online, which examined (national) media concentration rules.
| Seipp, T.|
| Dodds, T., Helberger, N., Resendez, V., Seipp, T., Vreese, C. de|
In: Journalism Studies, 2023.
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As digital technologies have made their way into news production, allowing news organizations to measure audience behaviors and engagement in real-time, click-based and editorial goals have become increasingly intertwined. Ongoing developments in algorithmic technologies allow editors to bring their audience into the newsroom using specialized tools such as Chartbeat or Google Analytics. This article examines how these technologies have affected the composition of the audience and their power to influence news-making processes inside two Chilean newsrooms. Drawing on several months of newsroom ethnography, we identify how the pursuit of “clickable news” impacts editorial processes and journalistic priorities by changing the datafied audience opinion power behind news production. Shifts in opinion power, loss of control, and increased platform dependency may contribute to a concentrated media landscape. Our findings show that opinion power has shifted to a datafied version of the audience, raising new questions about platform dependency and editorial autonomy in media organizations. These results carry significant implications for understanding the chase for traffic in current multiplatform newsrooms and how this phenomenon impacts news production.
| Ausloos, J., Helberger, N., Seipp, T., Vreese, C.H. de|
In: Digital Journalism, 2023.
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The platformised news environment affects audiences, challenges the news media’s role, and transforms the media ecosystem. Digital platform companies influence opinion formation and hence wield “opinion power,” a normatively and constitutionally rooted notion that captures the core of media power in democracy and substantiates why that power must be distributed. Media concentration law is the traditional tool to prevent predominant opinion power from emerging but is, in its current form, not applicable to the platform context. We demonstrate how the nature of opinion power is changing and shifting from news media to platforms and distinguish three levels of opinion power: (1) the individual citizen, (2) the institutional newsroom and (3) the media ecosystem. The reconceptualization at the three levels provides a framework to develop future (non-)regulatory responses that address (1) the shifting influence over individual news consumption and exposure, (2) the changing power dynamics within automated, datafied and platform-dependent newsrooms, and (3) the systemic power of platforms and structural dependencies in the media ecosystem. We demonstrate that as the nature of opinion power is changing, so must the tools of control.
| Seipp, T.|
In: Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 2022.
| Brogi, E., Fahy, R., Idiz, D., Irion, K., Meiring, A., Parcu, P.L., Poort, J., Seipp, T., Verza, S. et. al.|
2022, ISBN: 978-92-76-51323-0, (Report commissioned by European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, written by Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF), European University Institute, CiTiP (Centre for Information Technology and Intellectual Property) of KU Leuven, Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam (IViR/UvA), Vrije Universiteit Brussels (Studies in Media, Innovation and Technology, VUB- SMIT)).
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The Study on Media Plurality and Diversity Online investigates the value of safeguarding media pluralism and diversity online, focusing on (i) the prominence and discoverability of general interest content and services, and on (ii) market plurality and the concentration of economic resources. With a focus on Europe, the project is funded by a tender from the European Commission to produce a study on Media Plurality and Diversity Online and involves four partner universities: CMPF (EUI); CiTiP (Centre for Information Technology and Intellectual Property) of KU Leuven; the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam (IViR/UvA); imec-SMIT-Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The purpose of the assignment was to describe, analyse and evaluate the existing regulatory and business practices in the two areas mentioned above, and finally to elaborate some policy recommendations. Data were collected from the database of the Media Pluralism Monitor (CMPF) and through desk research, online consultations and interviews with stakeholders. The contractor was able to call on a network of national experts across the Member States to support this work.
| Seipp, T.|
In: Internet Policy Review, 2021, (Opinion).