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How the TEMS project aims to restore trust in Europe’s media sector 

How the TEMS project aims to restore trust in Europe’s media sector 

Published Dec 28, 2023 Updated Dec 28, 2023 Technology
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How the TEMS project aims to restore trust in Europe’s media sector 

The new Trusted European Media Data Space (TEMS) project, part of the EU's data strategy, aims to combat misinformation, empower smaller media and foster collaboration for a strong media environment based on trust.

Published on 1 December 2023 at 09:18

By Sarah Rost

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On 24 October, the Trusted European Media Data Space (TEMS) project was officially launched. Comprising 43 consortium members from 14 different countries under the coordination of Innovalia, this project is an integral part of the European Commission’s European Data Strategy 2020

How do these new partners intend to tackle the objectives set by the European Union? What are the concrete objectives of the TEMS consortium? We met the representatives of two member companies: Alexandre Leforestier, founder of PanOdyssey, and Delphine Ramond, European project manager at Agence France Presse (AFP), the leading French international news agency. Both were as enthusiastic as they were confident of the project's success..

If this project could be summed up in a single word, it would be "trust". "It's true that 'trust' is really the key for us. It is clear that we need this trust today," says Delphine Ramond.

Indeed, the creation of a trusted media data space is seen by TEMS members as a remedy to several problems affecting the European media sector. Firstly, the spread of misinformation and disinformation, which goes hand in hand with a growing mistrust of the media sector. Another battle that this European industry is facing is the crisis of funding: the European media and audiovisual sector has been significantly atomised, and the nebula of SMEs, independent and emerging media companies are struggling to remain competitive in the face of their American and Chinese counterparts.

Consequently, TEMS is destined to become more than a consortium: what its members want to implement in Europe goes beyond the creation of a data space. In order to make a lasting difference to the industry in which it operates, the network will have to expand. As Alexandre Leforestier points out: "If TEMS remains limited to the 43 partners currently involved, it's a failure. The aim is to create a European space between the American and Chinese spaces, to put it simply. Clearly, we need to feed off external elements, synthesise all these external elements and put in place simple adoption protocols that can be easily and massively adhered to. We need to determine how to translate all the digital services, all the European legal documents, into concrete actions for the European citizen.”

TEMS has therefore been designed to build on existing projects that are in line with these objectives, to make them better known and more efficient by gradually building an all-encompassing platform around them. This explains the great diversity in the nature and size of the 43 consortium members: emerging telecoms players such as PanOdyssey will put their engineers and expertise at the service of major news agencies such as AFP, to name but one of many examples.

One of the fundamental objectives of TEMS is also to redress the balance by making up for the lack of a "sociological revolution in the European cultural, creative and media sector", particularly in technological and organisational terms, as Alexandre Leforestier points out. "In the digital sector, it's a disaster because we've missed the mark every time, and in the digital media sector, it's a triple disaster," he argues. Another way forward is to encourage wider adoption of cutting-edge technology, particularly through peer-to-peer sharing of best practice.

Smaller media will also benefit from this peer-to-peer sharing of practices within the consortium, as well as from the new distribution channels that TEMS will provide for them. There are also issues of privacy and consumer trust. As Delphine Ramond explains, "better data protection and the creation of an environment with rules that are enforced will allow creators to defend their data more effectively and thus increase their revenues".

All in all, this project, which is still in its very early stages, is based on a dynamic of constant innovation and development. Above all, it relies on growing collaboration, both within the existing network and between this network and a wide range of external actors in the field. 

There is therefore a very strong premise for the success of this project : not only do all partners have to play fair and square and alter their work organisations accordingly, but the entire sector, at a continental scale, needs to understand the benefits of the creation of this space as well as subscribe to the same goal. In turn, ever-renewed actors will have to undergo the process of questioning certain aspects of their work organisation. 

The stakes in such collaborative projects are systematically put sky-high : if some consider themselves to  be contributing to the global effort more than others, they will have a tendency to scale down their implication. This is especially the case in a context of generalised crisis : agreeing to collectively help each other in order to remedy that crisis is not a guarantee that collective interest will supersede individual gains for certain companies.

TEMS intends to embody a clear benefit for all of its members to safeguard their dedication, and to do so in the long-term. Only time will tell if an organisation entirely based on such strong premices can withstand the hiccups that naturally come hand-in-hand with global initiatives. 

This article was produced as part of Voxeurop's participation in the Creative Room European Alliance (CREA)  consortium led by Panodyssey and supported by funding from the European Commission.
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