Media Policy Norms for a Europe in Crisis

Article English OPEN
Freedman, Des (2016)
  • Publisher: Taylor and Francis

Europe is in crisis. Millions of its citizens are living in poverty and subject to sustained programmes of austerity that are widening the gap between rich and poor. Communicative possibilities are squeezed by the realities of media market behaviour: public service broadcasters are facing challenges of legitimacy and funding while established news outlets are increasingly distrusted by audiences. Despite the scale of the crisis, however, there appears to be little appetite amongst media researchers to develop a professional or policy response that rises to the challenge and attempts to offer necessary solutions. This article reflects on existing policy norms and suggests that we need fresh ones that better articulate how best to respond to neoliberalisation and both communicative and economic crisis. Rhetorical commitments to democracy, free speech, privacy and transparency are being squeezed by a more pragmatic emphasis on efficiency and competition, leaving little room for more expansive ambitions of social justice and equality. By focusing on several case studies, the article argues that we need more radical policy frames to confront the serious attacks we are facing on the public media and the public interest more generally.
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