IES Spring Lecture Series "Rethinking European Media and Communications Policies"


Lecture LogoUnder the auspices of Prof. Dr. Caroline Pauwels (Director of IBBT-SMIT), Prof. Dr. Harri Kalimo (Senior Research Fellow at the IES) and Prof. Dr. Jukka Mähönen (University of Turku), the Institute for European Studies is organizing a lecture series on Rethinking European Media and Communications Policies. The lectures will start on 27 February and will take place at 18:00 in VUB aula D.0.02. Entrance is free of charge, but registration is compulsory.


Media and communications sectors are at the heart of EU’s efforts to create a true knowledge society. Innovative new offerings such as mobile television, Skype, iTunes and user generated content provide unique ways for citizens, consumers, industries and authorities alike to engage in and benefit from the knowledge economy. By blurring the traditional boundaries between broadcasting, telecommunication and information technologies, however, these new offerings also challenge the traditional policy frameworks within the EU. Previously distinct policies are now also converging.

The EU institutions and Member States have taken efforts, such as the Lisbon and i2010 agenda, to promote the benefits and tame the challenges of digitalisation. Increased opening of national media sectors, for example, is giving rise to new business opportunities, models and market structures. However, the objectives of media, communications and other policies are not identical; conflicts may come to the fore. Economic profitability, legal stability and predictability, basic human rights, and socio-cultural values are at times difficult to combine harmoniously.

It appears therefore necessary to fundamentally reconsider the existing legal and policy frameworks. Are they completely outdated? If so, where are the main problems, and how should they be addressed? A process of ‘Rethinking European media and communications policy’ starts from identifying the practical changes and challenges of today and tomorrow. A rethinking necessitates an overview of the existing tools and prospective solutions. And it calls for a focused analysis of a number of important, interlinked policy issues, such as the problems of digital rights management, the preservation of freedom of speech and privacy, the need to simultaneously promote innovation, competition and standardization, and the role of cultural values.

This is also the structure of the lecture series Rethinking European Media and Communications Policies, to which the VUB’s Institute for European Studies (IES) and the research center for Studies on Media Information and Telecommunication (IBBT-SMIT) as well as the University of Turku welcome you. Renowned experts from European institutions, universities and international organisations will present their views, moving from a general description and analysis to a more detailed discussion. The invited audience consists of policymakers, academics, industry representatives, as well as advanced students in European (media and communications) policy. Will the policies in support of creating a prosperous ‘European knowledge economy’ be compatible with the strive for a ‘European knowledge society’?

We look forward to your attendance and active participation in the lectures.

Prof. Dr. Caroline Pauwels,
Director of the Research Center for Studies on Media Information and Telecommunication (IBBT-SMIT),
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Prof. Dr. Harri Kalimo
Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for European Studies (IES),
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Prof. Dr. Jukka Mähönen
Professor of Civil Law, Faculty of Law,
University of Turku


Click on the names of the guest speakers to download a pdf file of the presentation.

Wednesday 27 February 2008: The Changing Media and Communications Environment
  • Tony Mary, former CEO Flemish public broadcaster VRT
  • Timo Ruikka, Policy Advisor, Nokia
  • Ioannis Maghiros, Principal Scientific Officer, Information Society Unit IPTS

Wednesday 5 Mars 2008: Rethinking the Policy Frameworks - an overview
  • Ken Ducatel (cancelled), Member of Cabinet, DG Information Society and Media
  • Eric Van Heesvelde, General Administrator, Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications
  • Hannu Nieminen, Professor of Media Policy, University of Helsinki

Wednesday 12 Mars 2008: Civil Liberties in the Information Age
  • Dirk Voorhoof, Professor of Media Law and Copyright Law, Universiteit Gent
  • Paul De Hert, Professor of Human Rights, Criminal Law and Legal Theory, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Serge Gutwirth (cancelled), Professor of Human Rights, Comparative Law, Legal Theory and Methodology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Wednesday 19 Mars 2008: The New Audiovisual Media Services Directive
  • Peggy Valcke, Professor of Media and Communications Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Anna Herold, Policy Officer, DG Information Society and Media
  • Monica Arino, Policy Advisor, Ofcom

Wednesday 9 April 2008: Competition in a Converging Market Place
  • Karel Van Miert, Former Commissioner, DG Competition
  • Thomas Vinje, Partner, Clifford Chance
  • Mikko Alkio, State Secretary, Ministry of Employment and Economy

Wednesday 16 April 2008: Public Service Broadcasting, Film Funding and State Aids in the New Media Environment
  • Pedro Dias, Case Handler, DG Competition
  • Ross Biggam, Director General, Association of Commercial Television in Europe
  • Jeanne Brunfaut, Chargée de mission for the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel of the French Speaking Community of Belgium

Wednesday 30 April 2008: Intellectual Property Rights - Friends or Foes?
  • Sakari Aalto, Partner in Roschier Attorneys Ltd
  • Fabienne Brison, Professor of Intellectual Property Rights, media and ICT Law, Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Attorney at Howrey LLP

Wednesday 7 May 2008: Who’s afraid of the WTO? Trade Policy meets Cultural Diversity
  • Carole Tongue, Associate Director, Sovereign Strategy
  • Emmanuel Cocq, Member of the Groupe d'Economie Mondiale de Sciences PO (Paris)

Tuesday 13 May 2008: Innovative R & D for Striving Media and Communications Sectors
  • Kurt Vandenberghe, Deputy Head of Cabinet, DG Science and Research
  • Wim Dewaele, Director, Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology (IBBT)
  • Jean-Claude Burgelman, Head of Unit Information and Communication Technologies, DG Information Society and Media