The Media for Democracy Monitor 2020 - Portugal


At the time of writing this panel proposal, the research project Media for Democracy Monitor (MDM) 2020 is collecting data in the field for 24 countries. In May 2020, all country teams will meet in a workshop and discuss country-by-country findings, as well as umbrella topics from a comparative analysis. Country authors present at the IAMCR Conference will report these findings in the proposed panel for the first time. So far, only preliminary results on Portugal are available. However, the paper will focus on the most salient and characteristic similarities and differences of Portugal compared to the other countries in the sample. In addition, the paper will focus on one specific topic which will be determined in a workshop in May 2020, which is significant for all 24 countries in the MDM 2020.

The presentation on Portugal will focus on digitalization impacting on the audience as well as on sales of news media. The main Portuguese news media continue to suffer from low audience reach and public sales, as well as decreasing advertisement profits, which puts them in a weak economic situation, clearly striving for survival. In recent months, the debate about the urgent need for some kind of public funding for news media has been in the agenda, at the highest level (the Portuguese President of the Republic insists on this issue, and recently sponsored a seminar about it, organized by the Journalists’ Union).

Second, downsizing of newsrooms and fragility of labour contracts continue to affect the working conditions of journalists in most media outlets, forcing them to do more and more in a very short time – the pressure of immediate online publication is strong – and threatening the quality of what is done.

Third, recent moves towards more concentration of media companies (both in television and press) don’t help the pursuit of pluralism and diversity in the media landscape.

Forth, the omnipresence of social media, often contaminating the information flow of legacy media and blurring the frontiers between them, cause frequent manifestations of distrust by the public, which affects the credibility of what is watched and read in the public space.