A broad consensus around the idea that the media are vital for the workings of democratic systems highlights their significance as a social value. The study of the media on such a premise has formed the object of extensive analysis. Citizens can play an active role in the political process and take advantage of opportunities generated for political participation and civic engagement if they have access to accurate and impartial information from a variety of sources. This allows them to gain a thorough understanding of public affairs and to exchange views and opinions about them. By nurturing (ideally) a broadly informed citizenry, the media is also seen to prompt the government to be responsive to the people, and to contribute to government accountability and control, thereby sustaining democracy. The media have thus a central role to play in the functioning of democracy, even if it is not
necessarily positive or always conducive to the latter.

Beyond the media’s presumed service to democracy, the justification for regulatory intervention in the field of the media has formed the object of considerable analysis by legal scholars, political scientists and academics specialising in media studies. The economic value of the media sector has led many to argue that media policy is essentially an “industrial” policy, aimed at ensuring the conditions necessary for increased competitiveness of the sector at the national and/or international level. Attention has also been drawn to “market failures” inherent in media activity that require corrective action. For instance, media operators tend towards strategic alliances and oligopolistic behaviour, with the aim to offset the unpredictability of public taste and its effects on their economic viability. The need to counterbalance this inclination of the media towards concentration has been particularly highlighted
as an argument in support of regulatory intervention…

Authors: Dia Amagnostou, Rachael Craufurd Smith, Evangelia Psychogiopoulou

Read here the article: “The formation and implementation of national media policies in Europe and their relationship to democratic society and media freedom and independence: A theoretical and analytical frame for the MEDIADEM project”