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It also shows that dispersal is likely to result in more owners who will reasonably pursue socially valuable journalistic or creative objectives rather than a socially dysfunctional focus on the 'bottom line'. The middle chapters answer those agents, including the Federal Communication Commission, who favor 'deregulation' and who argue that existing or foreseeable ownership concentration is not a problem. The final chapter evaluates the constitutionality and desirability of various policy responses to concentration, including strict limits on media mergers. Back to results Back to item.

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Media Concentration and Democracy: WHY OWNERSHIP MATTERS

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LSE Library. Leeds Beckett University Library. University of Leeds Library. University of Leicester Library. Liverpool John Moores University. University of Liverpool Library. University of Manchester Library. Northumbria University Library. Open University Library. Within the European Union, two main standpoints have emerged in the debate: on the one hand, the European Parliament has favoured the idea that, considering the crucial role that media play in the functioning of democratic systems, policies in this field should prevent excessive concentration in order to guarantee pluralism and diversity.

On the other hand, the European Commission has privileged the understanding that the media sector should be regulated, as any other economic field, following the principles of market harmonization and liberalization. Indeed, media concentration issues can be addressed both by general competition policies and by specific media sector rules.


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  8. According to some scholars, given the vital importance of contemporary media, sector-specific competition rules in the media industries should be enhanced. In the s, when preparing legislation on cross-border television many experts and MEPs argued for including provisions for media concentration in the EU directive but these efforts failed.

    Out of these options, the first one was chosen but the debate on this decision lasted for years. As a consequence, efforts at legislating media concentration at Community level were phased out by the end of the s.


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    Despite a wide consensus over the idea that the vital importance of contemporary media justifies to regulate media concentration through sector-specific concentration rules going beyond the general competition policy, the need for sector specific regulation has been challenged in recent years due to the peculiar evolution of the media industry in the digital environment and media convergence.

    In practice, sector-specific media concentration rules have been abolished in some European countries in recent years. As a consequence, scholars Harcourt and Picard argue that "the trend has been to remove ownership rules and restrictions on media ownership within Europe in order that 'domestic champions' can bulk up to 'fend off' the US threat. This has been a key argument for the loosening of ownership rules within Europe.

    In , the European Parliament tried to revitalize the efforts on regulating media concentration at the European level and adopted a resolution on media concentration which called on the European Commission to launch a broad and comprehensive consultation on media pluralism and media concentration and to prepare a Green Paper on the issue by the end of The European Commission failed to meet this deadline.

    In , reacting to concerns on media concentration and its repercussion on pluralism and freedom of expression in the EU member states raised by the European Parliament and by NGOs, the European Commission launched a new three-phase plan on media pluralism [61] [63] [64]. In October , a European Union Directive was proposed to set for all member states common and higher standards for media pluralism and freedom of expression. The proposal was put to a vote in the European Parliament and rejected by just three votes.

    The directive was supported by the liberal-centrists , the progressives and the greens , and was opposed by the European People's Party. Following this debate, the European Commission commissioned a large, in depth study published in aiming to identify the indicators to be adopted to assess media pluralism in Europe.

    After years of refining and preliminary testings, the study resulted in the Media Pluralism Monitor MPM , a yearly monitoring carried out by the Centre for media pluralism and freedom at the European University Institute in Florence on a variety of aspects affecting media pluralism, including also the concentration of media ownership is considered.

    In , the MPM was carried out in 19 European countries. The results of the monitoring activity in the field of media market concentration identify five countries as facing a high risk: Finland, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Poland and Spain. These groups generally control a high market share in the countries in which they operate, and have gradually emerged through the acquisition of existing channels or by establishing new companies in countries in which they were not already present.

    Most of them are based in the United States and have progressively expanded their activities in the European market. In many cases, these groups evolved from being content creators to also deliver such contents through channels renamed after the original brands. The emergence of major actors operating in this field has been made possible mainly thanks to the process of digitalization and benefit of specific economies of scale. Several major media previously owned by Swiss company Ringier became Czech-owned through their acquisition by the Czech News Center in Czech governments have defended foreign newspaper ownership as a manifestation of the principle of the free movement of capital.

    Axel Springer AG is one of the largest newspaper publishing companies in Europe, claiming to have over newspapers and magazines in over 30 countries in Europe. In the s and s the company's media followed an aggressive conservative policy see Springerpresse.

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    It publishes Germany's only nationwide tabloid, Bild , and one of Germany's most important broadsheets, Die Welt. Axel Springer also owns a number of regional newspapers, especially in Saxony and in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region , giving the company a de facto monopoly in the latter case. The company is also active in Hungary, where it is the biggest publisher of regional newspapers, and in Poland, where it owns the best-selling tabloid Fakt , one of the nation's most important broadsheets, Dziennik , and is one of the biggest shareholder in the second-ranked private TV company, Polsat.

    Bertelsmann is one of the world's largest media companies.

    Media Concentration and Democracy: Why Ownership Matters

    Bertelsmann also owns Random House , a book publisher, ranked first in the English-speaking world and second in Germany. It also owns As of May , he holds a Berlusconi has often been criticized for using the media assets he owns to advance his political career. They claim to have a monthly digital reach of 73 million people. The Guardian is owned by Guardian Media Group. Richard Desmond owns OK! BBC News produces news for its television channels and radio stations. Independent Radio News , which has a contract with Sky News , produces news for the most popular commercial radio stations.

    So is also the case with Sun TV. Moreover, Mozes owns the Reshet TV firm, which is one of the two operators of the most popular channel in Israel, Channel 2. In Mexico there are only two national broadcast television service companies, Televisa and Azteca. These two broadcasters together administer of the total commercial television stations in the country Though concern about the existence of a duopoly had been around for some time, a press uproar sparked in , when a controversial reform to the Federal Radio and Television Law , seriously hampered the entry of new competitors, like Cadena Tres.

    In the United States, movie production has been dominated by major studios since the early 20th century; before that, there was a period in which Edison's Trust monopolized the industry. There may also be some large-scale owners in an industry that are not the causes of monopoly or oligopoly. However, the radio broadcasting industry in the United States and elsewhere can be regarded as oligopolistic regardless of the existence of such a player.

    Media Concentration and Democracy: Why Ownership Matters by C. Edwin Baker

    Because radio stations are local in reach, each licensing a specific part of spectrum from the FCC in a specific local area, any local market is served by a limited number of stations. In most countries, this system of licensing makes many markets local oligopolies. The similar market structure exists for television broadcasting, cable systems and newspaper industries, all of which are characterized by the existence of large-scale owners. Concentration of ownership is often found in these industries. In the United States, data on ownership and market share of media companies is not held in the public domain.