Protecting Media Pluralism via European Law? The Centro Europa 7 Case and Beyond

Roberto Mastroianni, University of Naples Federico II

Tue, 04/12/2016
301 Marx Hall
Event Category: 
Panel Discussion

What are the benefits and limitations of invoking European law to challenge government overreach? In this panel discussion, Professor Roberto Mastroianni sheds light on this important question​ by discussing how the laws of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights were leveraged to challenge the media monopoly held by then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the Centro Europa 7 case. By elaborating on the broader implications of this case - in which Mastroianni participated as part of the legal team challenging Berlusconi - Mastroianni demonstrates how European laws, while useful in making legal arguments against democracy-eroding government actions, all-too often fail to prove decisive in holding state actors into account, underscoring the limits of a judge-centric strategy for protecting media pluralism and fundamental rights.

Roberto Mastroianni is full Professor of European Union Law at the University ‘Federico II’ in Naples, Italy, where he also teaches Media Law. He graduated in Law at the University of Florence, Italy (1987), and holds a PhD in European Law from the University of Bologna (1991) as well as a LLM from the Penn State/Dickinson School of Law (1992). He specialized in International Copyright Law and in European Media Law at the Universities of Geneva, Amsterdam and New York (NYLS). Former Researcher of International Law at the University of Florence (1992–1997), he served as Referendaire at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, in the Cabinets of Advocate General Giuseppe Tesauro and Antonio Saggio (1997–2000). He practices law in Rome and Naples, and collaborates with several private and public bodies. Among his publications are a treatise on International copyright Law (Milan, Giuffré, 1997), a book on the reform of Italian Broadcasting Law (Turin, Giappichelli, 2004), a monograph on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (II ed., 2011) and several articles and notes on EU Law, International Law and Mass Media Law. He is the co-author of a European Law handbook (Diritto dell’Unione europea, with G. Strozzi, Turin, Giappichelli, 2013) and of a treatise on Procedural Law of the European Union (Il contenzioso dell’Unione europea, with M. Condinanzi, Turin, Giappichelli, 2010).  Prof. Mastroianni is also a practitioner of EU law, having taken former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to court for violating EU media/advertising law.


Dimitry Kochenov holds a Chair in EU Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Groningen (The Netherlands). He is also a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Natolin (Poland). His research focuses on European citizenship and the principles of European Union law, with emphasis on justice, democracy and the rule of law. His recent books include EU Citizenship and Federalism: The Role of Rights (ed., Cambridge University Press (in press)); Reinforcing the Rule of Law Oversight in the European Union (ed. with Carlos Closa, Cambridge University Press (2015)); Europe's Justice Deficit? (ed. with Gráinne de Búrca and Andrew Williams, Hart Publishing, Oxford (2015)) and European Union's Shaping of the International Legal Order (ed. with Fabian Amtenbrink, Cambridge University Press (2013)). Kochenov served as a consultant to several governments and international organizations, including the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the application of EU law in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom in preparation for the constitutional reform which led to the restructuring of the Netherlands Antilles.  He has also been a consultant to the government of the Maltese Republic, on the recent citizenship law reform.  Kochenov has held several fellowships and visiting faculty positions in law programs in the United States and around the world. He holds an LL.D. from the Netherlands; an LL.M. from the Central European University (Budapest); and degrees in Law and in Arts from the Russian Federation. 

Jan-Werner Müller is the author of Constitutional Patriotism (Princeton UP, 2007; German, Chinese, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, and Serbian translations), A Dangerous Mind: Carl Schmitt in Post-War European Thought (Yale University Press, 2003; German, French, Japanese, Greek, Serbian, and Chinese translations) and Another Country: German Intellectuals, Unification and National Identity (Yale University Press, 2000; Chinese translation). In addition, he has edited German Ideologies since 1945: Studies in the Political Thought and Culture of the Bonn Republic(Palgrave, 2003) and Memory and Power in Post-War Europe: Studies in the Presence of the Past (Cambridge UP, 2002).  In 2011 Yale University Press published Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe. (German, French, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Polish, and Serbian translations).  Professor Mueller has been a fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, the Collegium Budapest Institute for Advanced Study, the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, the Center for European Studies, Harvard University, the Remarque Institute, NYU, and the European University Institute, Florence; he has also been a Member of the Institute of Advanced Study Princeton.  He has taught as a visiting professor at the EHESS, Paris, and Sciences Po, Paris. In 2011 he delivered the Carlyle Lectures in the History of Political Thought at Oxford University. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  At Princeton Jan-Werner Mueller directs the Project in the History of Political Thought at the University Center for Human Values.

Kim Lane Scheppele is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the University Center for Human Values and served as Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University from 2005 until 2015. She joined the Princeton faculty in 2005 after nearly a decade on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where she was the John J. O'Brien Professor of Comparative Law. Scheppele's work focuses on the intersection of constitutional and international law, particularly in constitutional systems under stress. After 1989, Scheppele studied the emergence of constitutional law in Hungary and Russia, living in both places for extended periods. After 9/11, Scheppele researched the effects of the international "war on terror" on constitutional protections around the world. Her many publications on both post-1989 constitutional transitions and on post-9/11 constitutional challenges have appeared in law reviews, social science journals and multiple languages. In the last two years, she has been a public commentator on the transformation of Hungary from a constitutional-democratic state to one that risks breaching constitutional principles of the European Union.