Populism and media go hand in hand. In the modern times, journalism has become incredibly important in spreading populist ideas and “fake news” which can contribute to increasing numbers of people moving to the far-right. Des Freedman’s “Populism and Media Policy Failure” discusses the failures of media to curb the spread of the far-right online. But this also goes well with the EU’s ambitious Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act.
Freedman mentions the argument that Mazzoleni makes in that all neo-populist movements rely on indirect and direct complicity with the mass media as well as politicians who are capable of being “newsmakers” themselves. This is really evident through Donald Trump who made great use of Twitter to express his opinions easily to the public whether he was factually correct or not. The use of Twitter further spread Trump’s ideas that attracted many Americans to believe his Tweets and it wasn’t until the recent attack on the Capital that his Twitter account was banned for inciting the violence.
As for the Digital Services Act, it does include rules and restrictions surrounding the scrutiny of how media platforms work, obligations for large platforms as a way to prevent abuse of their systems, and transparency rules that include online advertising and algorithms used for content recommendations for users. The Act is very comprehensive and intent on maintaining a safer and fair online presence within Europe that represents the values of the EU. While it encompasses so many obligations, it is questionable on how well it will be maintained and who is in control because depending on the Commission, it could vary as the Commission changes its leadership.