Věra Jourová, VP of the European Commission, speaks during the EANA Spring Conference in Brussels. Photo by Dirk Waem, Belgaimage

Věra Jourová during the EANA Spring Conference: News agencies are the key players in the European media

The European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) held its spring conference in Brussels, hosted by member news agency Belga. The conference focused on up-to-date topics like copyright, European funding for the media and AI and benefited from the participation of Ms Vera Jourova, Vice President of the European Commission, who delivered the main keynote of the event, and of Mr Marco Giorello, Head of the Copyright Unit at DG Connect, who had a presentation on the topic of copyright implementation. Steven Robinson, Director of Technology at the PA Media Group, also held a presentation on the topic of generative AI and its impact on news agencies.

Vera Jourova, VP of the European Commission, said: “News agencies are the key players in the European media. They play a key role in keeping the cooperation between different news providers and will remain our important partner. In regulating AI, our main task is to protect us, humans. I strongly disagree that innovation and fundamental rights can´t go hand in hand. AI can bring new methods to the media sector and together with all European news agencies we discussed the pros and cons.”

Steven Robinson, Director of Technology at the PA Media Group, said: “Generative AI is progressing at an ever-increasing rate. It is important for news agencies to understand how this new, potentially powerful tool can be utilised in an ethical, legal, and responsible way. Also, we must be that the technology could also be used for the mass distribution of sophisticated misinformation – and therefore, news agencies as “guardians of fact” must consider how to evolve their fact-checking and verification approach to keep pace.”

Clemens Pig, President of EANA and CEO of APA news agency, said: “We are going through difficult times and news agencies have to stick together. But we have found that cooperation is fundamental for our evolution and we are looking towards the future with confidence. It was a very insightful conference in Brussels, with top-level EU officials as our guests, which proves that EANA and news agencies are noticed and appreciated as important stakeholders in the media environment.”

Alexandru Giboi, Secretary General of EANA, said: “It is never easy to organize a conference that has the most fluid and up-to-date topic that exists right now: Artificial Intelligence and how it affects the media. I was happy to receive the full support of our hosting member, Belga, with its wonderful staff, headed by our colleague, Patrick Lacroix. Once again, we prove that EANA is a main provider of insights into the news agency business and the media environment in general. I would also like to thank Ms Sylvie Fodor, the Executive Director of CEPIC, EANA’s partner. EANA is opening up and positioning itself as a main stakeholder in the media environment.”

Patrick Lacroix, the CEO of the Belga news agency, the host of the event, said: “Belga News Agency was happy to host the EANA spring conference of 2023. Today Belga received the members of the European Alliance of News Agencies at its offices in the center of Brussels. Guests of honor were the Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Jourova and the EC Head of Unit for copyright Marco Giorello. Secretary General Alexandru Giboi offered us a high level program on the impact of AI and copyright on our news organizations. President Clemens Pig of APA induced the usual chemistry to make this conference day a success. Besides the many news ideas and best practices that were exchanged among the members, we were especially pleased to receive our colleagues from Ukrinform again. All members of EANA will do their best to support our precious colleagues to do their job in the best way possible. We already look forward to the EANA autumn conference in Paris.”

“Artificial intelligence and its impact on accurate reporting, ethical and financial aspects of its implementation, is the most current topic of modern age. Despite advantages we see today and due to its speedy development, artificial intelligence is a challenge it will be difficult to deal with in the future. This problem should be approached carefully because every wrong step in dealing with this technology, especially with ChatGPT apps can permanently damage not only journalism but human society as a whole. EANA once again demonstrated it puts the interest of the users first and focusing on this topic gives great contribution to the preservation of truth as an absolute value of both journalists and related professions.

The Board of EANA would like to thank colleagues from Belga for an excellent organization of the conference”, was the joint statement of the Board of EANA.

About EANA:

The European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) is a non-profit organization representing the leading European news agencies. Founded in 1956, EANA is dedicated to promoting high-quality journalism, sharing best practices, and advocating for the best interests of its members.