About one year after the installment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Burda's DLD innovation conference in Brussels staged by DLD founder Steffi Czerny started with a wake-up call.
On Monday evening, around 500 guests gathered for the Burda…Summer Night to mark the end of the parliamentary summer break with fascinating discussions and an impressive view of Brussels’ old town. For the fifth time, hosts Paul-Bernhard Kallen (Burda CEO) and Philipp Welte (Board Member National Media Brands) joined Andreas Rittstieg (Board Member, Legal) and Stefan Winners (Board Member, Digital) in welcoming guests from politics, the economy, media and society to Kwint gourmet restaurant. Guests included Günther Oettinger (EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources), Bavarian State Minister Beate Merk, Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner (European Minister for North Rhine-Westphalia) and numerous delegates from the European Parliament such as Angelika Niebler, Sabine Verheyen and Axel Voss. Rüdiger Grube, newly appointed chairman of the American investment bank Lazard, and Martin Herrenknecht, CEO of Herrenknecht, also attended.
“Platforms must face up to their responsibilities”
Paul-Bernhard Kallen expressed a wish that, by gathering everyone in Brussels for DLD Europe and the Summer Night, the company can offer a platform to discuss media politics: “Europe has understood that fair competitive conditions are top priority. With our two events, we want to create platforms for public exchange that will allow experts from politics, the economy, science and the arts to have their say on the regulatory challenges of the digital industry.” In his keynote speech for DLD Europe, Kallen also pointed out that the largest digital companies now have turnover equivalent to the gross domestic product of Switzerland, and have long since come of age. “It is time to treat these companies like adults and to make them face up to their responsibilities”, said Kallen, referring to Article 230 of the US Communications and Decency Act (CDA) from 1996, which gives online platforms immunity from legal prosecution for activities conducted via their platforms.
Level playing field for journalistic diversity
Another of the evening’s hot topics was the future of the digital domestic market and the European media industry given the dominance of international players. Philipp Welte made reference to Germany’s journalistic diversity; unique throughout the world, an expression of freedom of speech and information, and thus one of the most important foundations of German democracy. But to maintain this diversity, he said, there must be a level playing field when competing for resources with companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, and unfair legal conditions must be eliminated. He appealed to the European institutions: “Journalism must remain financially feasible from a market economy perspective – to the benefit of Europe and our democracy!”