By Abbey Newhouse
International Media students of Point Park University visited The New University of Lisbon the first full day there, and the visit included a lecture by Joao Palmeiro, discussing European media policies and the history of Portugal.
Palmeiro is the president of the Portuguese Press Association and board member of European Newspaper Publisher Association. Palmeiro has had a long respected career in the publishing industry. He also served in the Portuguese civil service as chief officer of public information.
Starting off the lecture, Palmeiro reflected on Portuguese history. Portugal has had its boundaries longer than any other European nation and has been at peace for over 200 years.
He was proud to talk about his participation in keeping the peace during his time of service.
“As long as I knew that I am here, in Africa, then I knew that my family is safe at home,” Palmeiro recalled.
Creating a setting where his audience felt connected to the background of Portugal, Palmeiro spoke about the issues that Europe faces within the media.
He discussed four major issues that face the media, including creating quality and content, regulating content, and delivering to consumers within all platforms.
One concern is just conveying information across mobile phones because in Europe, phone users must pay roaming charges when calling across countries. This cost is prohibitive to media via mobile devices, obviously, he said. Work is underway in the European Union to correct this.
He was proud to tell the students that the Portuguese media is not legislated or reviewed by the government, a departure after years of the Salazar dictatorship. Outside media companies have to pay, he said, to work within Portugal.
While talking about the future of technology in Europe and China, Palmeiro referred back to the issue of sharing too much information and the current backlash against Google News across the continent. Right now Google News has stopped linking content in both Spain and Portugal, among other European countries, because of nonpayment for content and copyright issues – a matter currently being reviewed. He described a situation he encountered with China’s new search engine, Baidu, which he referred to as the “new” Google. He told a story about a meeting he had with this new search engine and the information the Chinese hold behind their computer screen.
“I entered a room where the walls were covered in screens with the personal information of the site visitors,” he said. Why do they have that information you may ask? People voluntarily give these corporations access to personal information as specific as their home address. And he said this is indeed alarming and cause for concern.