Since taking on my role as MEP I have worked in favour of a pluralistic society based on free and independent information. My experience as a cabinet minister for various portfolios, including media, communication and culture, made me understand the significance of this fundamental principle.
We are living the digital industrial revolution. This requires our pluralistic society, independent media and creative industry to embrace this digitisation transformation without fear or intimidation.
As policymakers on a European level we acknowledge that to promote European general interest we need to preserve a level playing field to ensure fairness towards obtaining undeniable benefits through surmounting unprecedented challenges.
Over the past weeks I have been working to get Google strategists to travel to Malta on Friday to provide free-of-charge training to local musicians, businesses, creative individuals and artists who want to promote their work on You Tube.
This event will be organised with the support and collaboration of the EPP Group of which I form part within the European Parliament.
To attract the attention of such tech giants is no easy feat. I am proud in managing to drive the message home that there is reciprocal fertile ground for them and Maltese creative people alike.
These were days during which I learned how Google’s software engineers are developing the next-generation technologies that change how billions of users connect, explore, and interact with information. What makes such companies great is how they are constantly on the lookout for engineers who bring fresh ideas from all areas, including data storage, security, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and mobile; a list which goes on and grows every day.
The European Union is doing its share of work in this area through Creative Europe. This programme supports video-on-demand initiatives, the development of ‘On Line Ready’ packages and innovative multi-platform releases. This help is directed towards European professionals of the audio-visual industry, including producers, distributors, sales agents, exhibitors, and rights aggregators, as well as service providers.
Music Moves Europe is another framework for European Commission initiatives and actions in support of the European music sector, which underlines the awareness about the need to support music creation, promotion of musical diversity and the unleashing of opportunities offered by music online and offline distribution more effectively. This economic sector today generates revenues of over €25 billion a year in the European Union and employs more people than the film industry.
It is undisputable that the power of the web for growing businesses is resoundingly huge. It creates new jobs and helps local economies, especially in sectors with an export potential, to grow and scale up.
The power of the web for growing businesses is resoundingly huge. It creates new jobs and helps local economies
Recently, Fabian Borg, whom I have had the pleasure to meet twice over the past weeks stood up for his rights, and those of many others, by putting online a petition complaining about the fact that monetisation through You Tube hits is not available for Malta, even though other countries in the European Union are eligible to it.
Kurt Anthony Borg, another Maltese proficient online user stated that it is unfair that several Maltese put their heart and soul to come up with high-level online content and unlike other nationals from the single market are not rewarded for it. Together with Fabian and Kurt, I share this concern and I am doing my duty as an MEP to address it.
I took this on because I want Maltese gamers, vloggers, makers and content creators in general to fulfil their dreams of becoming high profile YouTubers someday; because this platform is the pinnacle of today’s social networking where people can showcase their talent, skills or simply their hobbies for everyone to see, praise or criticise. And why not, like others should have their right to gain a remuneration out of it too.
My work is driven through passion to be meaningful to the people I represent. Being very close to the artists, performers, musicians and creative people makes all this a second nature to me, that is, working towards stronger powers for them to ensure that their work would be valued fairly and proportionately on internet platforms like You Tube.
Which brings me to why I am reaching out through this event on Friday.
Together with Google I am reaching out to artists, musicians, performers, businesses and creative individuals who want to widen their reach by learning the skills of the trade through a free training course. This is a unique opportunity.
I will continue to front their plea in Europe for measures that would allow them to seek fair recognition and compensation, particularly on internet platforms, which would be inferior to none.
Francis Zammit Dimech is a Nationalist Party MEP (EPP Group).
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