Who are we and what are we about?
Who is SDEPS?
We are a coalition of organisations and initiatives united in our desire to build a Shared Digital European Public Sphere (SDEPS).
We share a belief that there is a need for public digital infrastructures that are based on democratic values and can be used and shaped by public institutions and civic initiatives. Ones that provide alternatives to the existing commercially-driven Internet.
This coalition brings together different types of organisations (institutions, civic initiatives, CSOs, technology projects) from different sectors (public service media, civil society media, academia, education, libraries and other cultural heritage institutions, commons projects, civic initiatives) with different ways of working (media production, technology development, advocacy). The coalition recognises this diversity in approaches and organisational backgrounds and will seek to amplify these varied voices in European policy debates.
What is the challenge?
The challenge we are facing, in short:
The European digital public arena is largely dominated by a small number of for-profit media platforms. Public service & community media, educational and academic institutions, cultural organisations and producers as well as civic initiatives have increasingly become dependent on their services in the absence of viable public alternatives. The result has been an enormous transfer of wealth from the public sector to these private actors’ platforms, which in turn has allowed them to wield enormous power over the media landscape and public discourse, with little or no accountability. This imbalance and lack of a viable alternative is detrimental to the Internet, to our democratic values, and to the health of our European societies.
What are we doing about it?
The coalition will provide a European coordination layer and a common voice vis-à-vis EU policy makers.
The coalition strives towards developing a common framework of:
- technology stack
- governance of this shared technology
It is not enough to aspire to an alternative to Big Tech, we must actively build it.
Therefor we organise ourselves in two groups, one focused on the new infrastructures that are to be build.
We are committed to creating digital public spaces that are aligned with our shared values as Europeans.
Next to building, a part of our ambition is to deliver real and enduring value to society and our communities we aim to put the Shared Digital European Public Sphere on the EU policy agenda. Our goal is to secure the commitment and investment necessary to build the public digital infrastructure we need, and to support an interoperable ecosystem of public institutions and civic initiatives that can drive and spark it.
The time for Europe to invest into digital public infrastructure is now. The networks are in place, the ambition is clear. Now we only need the political will to create digital public spaces that offer a credible vision beyond narrow commercial interests to make this Europe’s Digital Decade.