Media-Policy Responses to Digitalization: a comparative perspective

Aske Kammer

Publikation: Konferencebidrag - EJ publiceret i proceeding eller tidsskriftKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


This paper explores how different frameworks for regulating and subsidizing the news media are in place across different media systems and geographic contexts, focusing on how policy-makers respond to the digitalized and increasingly converged media environment. Traditionally, the structuring of media industries as well as media policy has been guided by a framework of three separate yet co-existing models (McQuail, 2000; Pool, 1983): the free press model (where the practically unlimited space for more publications have meant little or no regulation), the broadcast model (where limited number of, e.g., broadcast frequencies give cause for some regulation), and the common carrier model (where the presence of only very few actors in a critical, tele-communicative infrastructure has justified extensive public regulation). This distinction between different sectors and types of media has been highly influential in the media-political frameworks of the 20th century and today. What is happening in the process of digitalization, however, is that these division lines dissolve. Earlier, the press produced journalism in written form, broadcasters audiovisual; but in the digital age, the ways of presenting the news are converging, making newspapers and broadcasters direct competitors in the same market (see, e.g., Søndergaard & Helles, 2014). So the question is to what extent this tri-sectional understanding of the media is adequate for the current media environment, and how processes of convergence challenge its core assumptions (see also Nielsen, 2014). Along those lines, the basic question of this paper is how different media systems and the actors in it adapt media politically to current changes in their contingencies? What happens to the guideposts of media policy when the landscape changes? Empirically, the paper presents a pilot study for a larger research project that will focus on seven countries that represent different media systems (cf. Brüggemann et al., 2014; Hallin & Mancini, 2004): Brazil, Denmark, Japan, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. The present study compares data and existing media-political legislation from three of these countries: Denmark, Switzerland, and Spain. Analytically, the study employs textual analysis of policy documents and legislation. This data is used to identify patterns of similarities and differences across legislation concerning press freedom, media subsidies, stipulations of what the media can and cannot do, etc. It asks (but do at the time of writing this abstract not have analyses to answer) if separate policy schemes do, indeed, exist for the different sectors (reflecting a to-some-extent outdated constellation of the media), or if are they converging (challenging the framework that policy-makers operate in regards to and understand the media) - and, most importantly, how the political and media systemic characteristics of the various countries reflect on the media-policy responses to digitalization.
StatusUdgivet - 2017
BegivenhedThe XVIII Nordic Political Science Congress - Odense, Danmark
Varighed: 8 aug. 201711 aug. 2017


KonferenceThe XVIII Nordic Political Science Congress