Edwin Baker, Media Concentration: Giving Up on Democracy (University of Pennsylvania Law School, 2002)
This paper tries to identify the permissible scope for regulation aimed at reducing ownership concentration in the media in light of the constitutional guarantee of free speech and expression. It argues that an exclusive reliance on antitrust law is unlikely to solve the problem because it fails to account for non-economic media-specific concerns. Finally, the paper lists out various problems associated with the increasing trend of ownership concentration and rejects popular arguments that concern over concentration is overstated.View More
Michal Bartoň, Pluralism of media as a constitutional principle (VIIIth World Congress of the IACL, Workshop 3- Media and Constitutional Principles, 2010).
This paper argues that plurality of information and competition in the media are essential for the functioning of a democratic society. It argues that media pluralism could be considered an objective constitutional value, which binds the regulatory activities of the state. The regulation of cross-ownership and ensuring transparency in media ownership and funding is therefore essential.View More
Douglas Gomery, The FCC’s newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule: an analysis (Economic Policy Institute, 2002).
This is a summary of a book written in response to the FCC’s decision to initatite a review of the cross-ownership ban on newspapers and broadcast stations in the same local market. It argues that the efficiency-maximising free market economics approach that seems to underpin most demands to reverse the ban is inappropriate for measuring the impact on public welfare. It shows how both the print and broadcasting media in the US may still be considered monoplistic/oligopolistic and that plurality will only be further undermined with the dilution of the cross-ownership rule.View More
Michael J. Copps, Statement on promoting diversification of ownership in the broadcasting services, Re: Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services, Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (MB Docket Nos. 0
This is the strongly worded statement of Commissioner Michael J. Copps where he partially dissents from an order of the FCC. The statement seeks to debunk the logic that a reversal of the cross-ownership ban is necessitated in light of the poor state of local newspapers and rapid technological transformation. The statement spells out how such a move will exacerbate the problems of concentration and leave audiences with fewer choices, apart from undermining commitments towards minority and female ownership and localism of news.View More
Barak Obama & John Kerry, Media consolidation silences diverse voices (Politico, 2007).
Obama and Kerry are of the view that the ownership of traditional media in the US is more consolidated today than it has been ever before. They argue that those in power can only be held accountable if diverse viewpoints are exchanged and this in turn requires the protection small, minority-owned or women-owned media outlets.View More
John F. Sturm, Time for change on media cross-ownership regulation, (57(2) Federal Communications L. J. 201, 2005).
The author supports the FCC’s decision to reverse its blanket ban on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in a local market. He argues that newspapers and broadcasters can provide better informational services if they can combine their newsgathering resources. He also points to evidence showing that cross-owned media outlets in the US tend to air more local news and public affairs programming than others. The paper maintains that it is time to do away with cross-ownership rules in light of the rapid proliferation and diversification in print, broadcast, radio and internet media outlets.View More
Slate, Big is Beautiful, (2000).
Written in defence of the AOL-Time Warner merger, this blog post argues that the degree of plurality and decentralization in the media has increased because the cost of information processing has been on the decline. This comes at the expense of entrenched media empires and has the effect of leveling the playing field. The author believes that this is the golden age of journalism as big media houses have managed to pair editorial quality with financial success. It lists various benefits of big media while highlighting several problems with smaller, independent outlets.View More
Christopher Yoo, Architectural Censorship and the FCC, (Regulation 22-29, 2005).
The paper argues that structural regulation (aimed at restricting cross-ownership, regulating pricing and prohibiting vertical integration) of the media undermines the diversity, quantity and quality of speech by prohibiting media outlets from realizing crucial efficiencies. It characterizes such regulation as a form of architectural censorship and presents a case for subjecting it to the highest standard of judicial review (strict scrutiny) under the first amendment. It maintains that a lower standard of scrutiny would pay excessive deference to the legislature, which favours such architectural censorship. In doing this, the paper analyses relevant jurisprudence, legislative efforts and regulation in the US.View More
Benjamin Compaine, Newspaper slant comes from readers, not from owner (Ben Compaine’s who owns the media?, 2006).
To further his argument against the ‘rhetoric’ that large media companies stifle plurality, Compaine has written a blog post explaining the results of a study undertaking market analysis, which shows that news bias is demand driven, i.e. it comes from the readers and not from the owners. In his view, empirical evidence from the US increasingly shows that not only do cross-owned media outlets produce better quality news, but also that they have a limited impact (if at all) on plurality.View More
Mark Thompson, Protecting Media Pluralism in Europe (Open Society Foundation, December, 2012).
This piece starts on the premise that media pluralism is essential not only to maintain the democratic process but also for ensuring tolerant and holistic debate on complex issues. In the face of growing disagreement over how to measure and protect such plurality, the author details EU initiatives in this respect and argues that the EU seems to speak in numerous voices over the protection of media plurality.View More
Núria Almiron et al., External pluralism protection in five EU countries and the US: the regulatory authorities’ views, (Observatorio 129, 2012)
The authors have interviewed media regulators in the US, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy and presented their answers to a common set of questions. This paper highlights the differential approaches on issues such as regulating internal versus external pluralism and the use of audience concentration instead of the media outlet’s economic power as a measure of the degree of concentration in the market. It also highlights interesting similarities such as the perceived lack of autonomy on the part of the regulators in the six countries.View More
Rachel Craufurd Smith et al., Regulating media plurality and media power in the 21st century (LSE Media Policy Project, 2012).
The paper can be accessed from the London School of Economics website.View More
David Skinner & Robert Hackett, Media diversity requires structural pluralism, (OpenMedia, July 27, 2007).
The author argues that apart from merely placing caps on the concentration of media ownership, the interests of plurality further require regulatory bodies to actively encourage the creation of and investment in new broadcast systems apart from ensuring citizens’ access to broadcast networks. The guiding principle is to not only maintain but also develop diversity. Even in cases where consolidation is permitted, base line criteria on journalistic independence, local programming requirements etc. may be put in place.View More
The Free Speech Debate, Paolo Mancini on the different kinds of media pluralism (YouTube, 2012)
Professor Paolo Mancini from the department of political science at the University of Perugia talks about the different types of media pluralism.View More
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