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Join us for two interrelated lunch seminars led by Maciej Bernatt (University of Warsaw). This minicourse will investigate the relationship between competition (antitrust) law and democracy, with a focus on media markets. It relies on the experiences of EU countries that have experienced democratic backsliding to examine whether merger review by competition agencies can help preserve competitive media markets and media plurality. It also analyzes any added value the proposed EU regulation of media markets may have in this respect. The course contributes to the broader debate on how to (better) control the market power of firms that pose risks to democracies.

Wednesday, April 24: 12-1 pm
Democratic backsliding and the risks for pluralistic and competitive media

In this session, we will discuss the general consequences of democratic backsliding in Hungary and Poland for media markets. Then, we will use two merger cases to illustrate how the weakening of competition agencies by the ruling majority affects merger review on media markets and what further negative effects for democracy such a process entails.

Thursday, April 25: 12-1 pm


In this session, we will scrutinize solutions to the challenges identified during the first session. First, we will present ways to strengthen the competition law regime in media markets transactions. This will include discussions on competition agencies’ independence and democratic responsiveness, among others. Then we will examine the planned EU regulation of media markets, specifically the EU Media Freedom Act. Our focus will be on the proposed media plurality test and its limitations.

Maciej Bernatt is a professor and director of the Centre for Antitrust and Regulatory Studies at the Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw (Poland). He holds a Habilitation, a PhD, and MAs in law and international relations. He held visiting fellow appointments at academic institutions in Australia, Germany, and the U.S. His research interests lie at the intersection of competition and constitutional law as well as administrative and EU law.

In-person location: Harper Center (5807 S. Woodlawn Ave) - Room 104
*LIVESTREAM also available


This event will take place over a two-day period. Please ensure you have registered for each day separately. We look forward to seeing you both days of our event.

Lunch will be served for in-person registrants until the event starts. Food may not be available after the event begins and not all dietary/food preferences may be accommodated.