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To what extent are the media characterized by an ownership structure that ensures a pluralism of opinions?

EUOECD
 
Diversified ownership structures characterize both the electronic and print media market, providing a well-balanced pluralism of opinions. Effective anti-monopoly policies and impartial, open public media guarantee a pluralism of opinions.
10
Finland
Finland’s media landscape is pluralistic and includes a variety of newspapers and magazines. Moreover, the conditions in which Finland’s journalists operate are said to be among the most favorable in the World. In addition, Finland still boasts an impressive newspaper readership, despite a definite decline in circulation numbers in recent years. However, newspapers do face the prospect of long-term decline due to the rise of the electronic media and increasing economic pressures due to a loss of advertising share and increasing costs. Indeed, during the last decade, user-generated content and online social-media platforms have revolutionized the media landscape. As a rule, newspapers are privately owned but publicly subsidized. The ownership structure is therefore fairly diverse. The position of regional newspapers remains comparatively strong, and they provide a variety of print media at the national and regional level. Internet use is open and unrestricted, the share of Internet users in the population aged 16 to 74 exceeds 90%, and broadband internet access is defined by law as a universal service that must be available to everyone. According to Official Statistics of Finland, the Internet has become an established source of information concerning elections. The national broadcasting company, Yleisradio, operates several national and regional television and radio channels, and supplies a broad range of information online. Although state-owned and controlled by a parliamentary council, Yleisradio is viewed as unbiased. Yleisradio is complemented by several private broadcasting companies.
Citations:
Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): “Use of Information and Communications Technology by Individuals” [e-publication]. ISSN=2323-2854. 2011. Helsinki: Statistics Finland.
http://www.stat.fi/tup/suoluk/suolu_ k__kulttuuri_en.html#newspaper;
Ville Manninen & Heikki Kuutti, “Media Pluralism Monitor 2015 - Results - Finland”, monitor.cmpf.eui.eu/mpm2015/results/finland
9
Denmark
There are currently about 35 daily newspapers in Denmark. This includes six daily (Politiken, Jyllands-Posten, Berlingske, Børsen, Kristeligt Dagblad and Information), three tabloid (MetroXpress, BT and Ekstra Bladet) and 26 smaller regional newspapers, as well as an increasing number of online news sites. Most private publications tend to be conservative or liberal in political philosophy. Left-wing views tend to be underrepresented in editorial pages, but in straight news reporting most newspapers tend to deliver fairly wide-ranging and diverse coverage. The main newspapers regularly include letters to the editor that do not reflect the paper’s own views. So in practice, there is a high degree of pluralism of opinions in Danish newspapers. A vibrant civil society contributes to this. Today Jyllands-Posten (right-wing/liberal) and Politiken (social democratic/liberal) are run by the same publishing house, but with independent editorial policies and owned by separate foundations. Only one local paper, Skive Folkeblad, is owned by a party, the Social Liberal Party.

The public media (mostly radio and TV) are independent and have editorial freedom. Satellite and cable TV are increasingly creating more competition for public media. In addition, a number of local oriented radio channels exist. Internet access is widespread and not restricted. Denmark ranks among the top five countries in the world in respect to households having internet access.

All newspapers are active on the internet and are moving more toward paid content. Danes increasingly get their information digitally via social media platforms, such as Facebook and Snapchat. The readership of print media has declined substantially in recent years. But traditional print media and TV still play an important role in public debate.
Citations:
“Media Landscape – Denmark,” http://ejc.net/media_landscapes/denmark (accessed 10 October 2015).
“The media landscape in Denmark,” http://www.eurotopics.net/en/home/medienlandschaft/dkmdlschaft/ (accessed 20 October 2014).
“Denmark Newspapers,” http://www.allnewsmedia.com/Europe/Denmark/newspapers.htm (accessed 16 April 2013).
“Media Insights,” http://frontpage.dk/en/medie-insights/ (Accessed 16 October 2017).
Estonia
A great variety of newspapers exist in the country. There are 21 national newspapers including two major daily broadsheets, 67 local newspapers and several newspapers in Russian. As a rule, newspapers are privately owned but some local and regional papers receive support from the municipalities or counties. Some weeklies such as the Teachers’ Gazette and the cultural weekly Sirp receive government funds. Printed newspapers struggle with decreasing readership since electronic media has become increasingly dominant. This trend is supported by high Internet and cable-TV penetration rate. All major newspapers have an online version, and there are two other major online news portals. One of these is publicly funded and run by Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR), while another, Delfi, is owned by the private Ekspress Group. All TV and radio channels offer an online presence and make increasing use of social media.

Aside from ERR, media ownership is concentrated in two large companies owned by domestic investors (the Ekspress Group and the Eesti Meedia Group). A third major company, the foreign-owned Bonnier Group, publishes Äripäev, a business daily. Some minor online news portals, such as independent poliitikaguru.ee or radical right objektiiv.ee enjoy an increasing number of followers.
Germany
In Germany, the Interstate Treaty on Broadcasting and Telemedia (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag, RfStV) defines a threshold of average annual viewership share of 30%, over which a broadcaster is considered to have an unallowable dominance over public opinion (RfStV, Sec. III, Subsection 2). The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) regulates most questions of oligopoly and monopoly in Germany, and has blocked several potential mergers in both print and electronic media markets.

Two main public television broadcasters operate at the national level in Germany: the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Rundfunkanstalten Deutschlands (ARD), a conglomerate composed of various regional TV channels, and the Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF). According to the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Fernsehforschung (AGF), a broadcast media research group, public broadcasters hold a market share of 44.3%, slightly more than in 2012. In the private sector, the RTL Group holds 24.3% market share, while the ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG accounts for 18.8% of the total television market. TV is the most used media (80%), followed by radio (65%) and the internet (63%).

The nationwide print media market is dominated by five leading daily newspapers: Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt, Handelsblatt and the tabloid Bild. Bild has by far the biggest circulation in Germany. Additional agenda-setters are a number of weeklies, in particular Der Spiegel, Focus, Die Zeit and Stern.

With newspaper circulation continuously falling, the internet has become an increasingly important medium for citizens to gather information. This has forced print media to engage in significant cost cutting measures, including reducing the size of editorial staff. This structural change from print to electronic media has not been accompanied by increasing market concentration. In summary, Germany has a comparatively plural and diversified media-ownership structure and modestly decentralized television and radio markets.
Citations:
https://www.agf.de/daten/tvdaten/marktanteile/

https://www.bdzv.de/fileadmin/bdzv_hauptseite/aktuell/publikationen/2017/ZDF_2017.pdf

https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/74804/umfrage/marktanteile-oeffentlich-rechtlicher-und-privater-vollprogramme/
Norway
The state-owned broadcast channels control dominant shares of the country’s TV and radio audiences. There are two private TV channels and various private radio channels, including local radio stations. The government does not interfere with the daily activities of the private media, but does monitor to ensure that they comply with their contractual obligations, which for national channels includes broadcasting throughout the entire country. A special body called the Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet) is responsible for monitoring and regulating the market.

The stated goal of government regulation of the broadcast-media market is to guarantee that quality remains high and that coverage is national. Cable TV is essentially unregulated beyond the effect of general laws (e.g., there is a ban on pornography).

Newspapers operate independently and express a plurality of views. As elsewhere in the world, newspaper circulation is on the decline, as is print advertising. As a result, many newspapers are under financial strain and have in recent years been forced to cut back on editorial staff. Web-based news outlets are replacing print newspapers, and are accounting for a steadily growing market share of media advertising. In the last few years, local newspapers in particular have come under increasing strain resulting from reductions in advertising income and subscription rates.

The concentration of ownership has not to date been perceived as a threat to media plurality. However, private ownership is becoming increasingly oligopolistic across print and broadcast media. The distributors of digital signals have also used their power to change marketplace dynamics. Since digital distribution is becoming increasingly important, the structure of ownership in this channel has a larger negative implication for media plurality. Although there is a tradition of nonintervention by owners in editorial matters, the print media as a body has at critical junctures become politically biased. The media landscape as a whole, as well as the general public debate, demonstrates a noticeable and sometimes-narrow political correctness. Broadband internet is widely used and accessible all over the country.
Sweden
The Swedish media market is highly competitive. There is a very clear distinction between public service and commercial media with the former mitigating the downsides of the latter. The only problem with the growing private media market is that it has a highly centralized ownership structure with significant foreign ownership.

New social media (Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) are developing at an amazing speed in Sweden, as elsewhere, and are playing an increasingly important role in politics. Electronic media are most popular with a younger and well-educated demographic. Internet penetration in Sweden is among the highest in the world.
Citations:
Andersson, U. et al. (eds.) (2017), Larmar och gör sig till (Gothenburg: The SOM Institute) (https://som.gu.se/publicerat/bocker/70.-larmar-och-gor-sig-till).

Johansson, B. et al. (2014), Det politiska spelet. Medborgare, medier och politiker i den representativa demokratin (Lund: Studentlitteratur).

Olsson, J., H. Ekengren Oscarsson and M. Solevid (eds.) (2016), Eqvilibrium (Gothenburg: The SOM Institute).
Switzerland
The most important electronic media organizations in Switzerland in terms of coverage and intensity of citizen use are publicly owned. Private-sector television stations play only a small role in the country’s media landscape. These are largely regional stations. A number of foreign radio and television stations can be received in Switzerland, contributing to the country’s media plurality. The country has a high number of privately owned newspapers, with a highly decentralized system of regional concentration. However, a strong tendency toward centralization has weakened the regional newspaper market. This has been amplified by the strong growth of free papers for commuters such as 20 Minuten in the morning and Blick am Abend in the evening (similar publications exist in the French-speaking part of Switzerland). These have tended to crowd out readership of traditional newspapers, which have collectively suffered from a decline in readership of 23% (on a circulation basis) between 1990 and 2014. In addition, a trend toward concentration has affected formerly independent newspapers such as Bund and Berner Zeitung. In 1980, 290 newspapers existed in Switzerland; in 2014, this number shrank to 181, a reduction of 38%, a process that continued over the following three years. As with other small nations, Switzerland enjoys a relatively diversified ownership structure, but over time there has been a very strong process of centralization and concentration.

There will be a popular vote on a proposal for a constitutional article in March 2018. The proposed article would prohibit the federal government from subsidizing or running broadcasting and TV stations. This would imply the abandonment of public radio and TV.
 
Diversified ownership structures prevail in the electronic and print media market. Public media compensate for deficiencies or biases in private media reporting by representing a wider range of opinions.
8
Ireland
A wide range of newspapers – national and local – is published in Ireland and this is augmented by the circulation of the main UK newspapers and weeklies. In addition to the range of public-service state-owned radio and TV stations, a variety of privately owned stations also exist. Irish listeners and viewers also avail themselves of UK English-language stations, which are widely received in the country. As a result, Irish readers, listeners and viewers are exposed to a plurality of opinions.

There is a plurality of ownership in the Irish media – the sector includes state radio and TV, private radio and TV, a variety of newspapers with varied private ownership, and many small-circulation magazines that purvey alternative political views and philosophies. However, there are recurrent suspicions about the influence and power of the Independent News and Media Group, an Irish-based multinational media company that owns the largest circulation national titles. The control of this company has changed recently following a bitter internal feud. The group’s editors maintain that its journalists are not restricted in their professional freedom.

There are also recurrent criticisms of the views promoted by the state-owned broadcasting company, RTÉ, and of bias in its core news and editorial comment. There does not appear to be much basis for such claims.

Irish libel laws are restrictive and may impair the ability of investigative journalists to have their work published. However, the restrictions imposed by the existing laws do not imply any bias toward one end of the political spectrum or the other.
USA
The media market is characterized by pluralism in the electronic and broadcast sectors. Publicly funded television and radio networks provide high-quality programming but have modest resources for news gathering. There are strong television-news networks on both the left (MSNBC) and the right (Fox News) of the political spectrum. Within the private media, an unprecedented consolidation has occurred in recent years. The number of independent television-station owners has dropped by 40% since 1995. During the same period, the number of commercial radio stations has dropped by 36%. Just five big media corporations control nearly 75% of primetime viewing. In addition, there has been a steady decline of competition in the print media, especially with regard to local newspapers; few cities today have more than one newspaper.

The main challenge with respect to pluralism is the decline in financial resources available for actual news gathering and reporting, as opposed to commentary. As an unfortunate consequence, an increasing proportion of news coverage consists of statements made directly by politicians or public officials, often without filtering or analysis by reporters. The rapidly increasing use of mobile phones as a principal means of accessing news reduces the depth of the reporting people receive.
7
Cyprus
In recent years, media companies have grown in size, extending their hold on the press and broadcasting (mainly radio) sector, and operating internet news portals. An increased dependency on financial interests has also been evident, even in content, which has led to less critical reporting. Strict ownership rules focus primarily on capital concentration, with a threshold of 25% on capital share in audiovisual media, and disallowing cross-media conglomerates. Very limited ownership data are publicly available. In 2017, additional print media companies faced serious challenges or closed down.

A deliberate focusing of attention on the Cyprus problem and a predominance of polarized viewpoints over real debate persisted in 2017. Additional themes such as corruption, the financial crisis and the need to address hydrocarbon use were also covered. Issues of social concern such as multiculturalism, the need for transparency and governance quality were also on covered during the period under review. The absence of analytical reporting, combined with advocacy journalism are major problems.

The government and other mainstream actors largely monopolize media access, restricting the spectrum of themes covered and viewpoints expressed. A focus on partisan confrontations, polarized viewpoints and blaming lead to critical problems rarely being discussed in a meaningful manner.
Citations:
1. Media Pluralism Monitor Cyprus, 2016 http://cmpf.eui.eu/media-pluralism-monitor/mpm-2016-results/cyprus/
2. Report on Cyprus in “The Citizens’ Right to Information: Law and Policies in the EU and its Member States,” 2012, pp. 163-182, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2012/nov/ep-study-citizens-right-to-information.pdf
Czech Rep.
The private media market in the Czech Republic has changed significantly in recent years. The most critical tendencies are the concentration of media ownership, the departure of several international owners and the broadening of the scope of media holdings (print, online, radio and television). Measured by print circulation, the most influential media group in the Czech Republic during the review period was the Czech News Center (owned by entrepreneurs Daniel Křetínský and Patrik Tkáč) followed by MAFRA (owned by Andrej Babiš, since February 2017 in a blind trust which includes his close family members). The former was initially held by a Swiss group and the latter by German groups. The concentration of ownership is not as evident in the TV sector. Here the strongest private owners are the U.S. owned Central European Media Enterprises (CME) and Czech-owned FTV Prima. In the period under review, no significant changes in media ownership took place. However, CME announced its intention to sell as a single block its TV channels in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. This would exclude potential local media magnates.
Citations:
Cichowlas, O., A. Foxall (2015): Now the Czechs have an oligarch problem, too, in: Foreign Policy.com (http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/04/10/now-the-czechs-have-an-oligarch-problem-too-andrej-babis/).
Italy
The Italian media system is more balanced today than in the past. In television, the earlier duopoly between public television (RAI) and private television (controlled by Berlusconi’s Mediaset) is now less exclusive. Sky TV and La7, as well as other national television and digital broadcasters, offer alternative sources for news. Public television is now under a more politically neutral governance. As for print media, the presence of four or five significant groups ensures a satisfactory degree of pluralism. Overall one can say that all political opinions of some relevance in the political spectrum receive fair media coverage. Understandably, the largest parties obtain more space than the smaller ones.

It would be difficult to say that certain positions are not published or are marginalized, especially in the case of newspapers. One of the big issues in Italy is still the predominance of television: newspapers, radio programs and electronic media can’t counterbalance its influence. A large television company, Mediaset, continues to exercise significant influence over electoral campaigns. With the return of Berlusconi to political prominence, the influence of Mediaset may become increasingly more important.
Latvia
Media ownership is diverse. Print media is privately owned, while broadcast media has a mix of public and private ownership. Market pressures have created some consolidation in the market, leading to concerns about pluralism. In 2012, the Modern Times Group sought to expand its TV holdings in Latvia by buying a competitor, LNT. The merger was reviewed by the Competition Council, which allowed it under a set of conditions to protect media plurality, including a requirement to retain two separate news desks and news-programming systems until 2017.

Newspapers and magazines provide a diverse range of views, but ownership structures are in some cases opaque. Internet news portals (Delfi and TVNet) have replaced print newspapers as the primary source of news.
Citations:
1. Competition Council (2012), On the Merger of Market Participants, Available at (in Latvian): http://www.kp.gov.lv/files/pdf/UNldnCrDP7.pdf, Last assessed: 17.05.2013.
Lithuania
Lithuania’s electronic and print media markets are characterized by a mix of diversified and oligopolistic ownership structures. Ownership structures are not transparent. Publicly owned electronic media (the state-funded National Radio and Television) to some extent compensate for deficiencies or biases in private sector media reporting. According to Transparency International (the Vilnius office), some media entities are more transparent than others. In 2007, the organization singled out Verslo Žinios and Valstiečių laikraštis among the print media and the Lithuanian Television from the electronic media for transparency, while print publication Respublika and Baltic Television were criticized in this regard. In 2014, the Journalists’ and Publishers’ Ethics Commission criticized print publications Respublika and Lietuvos rytas for failing to comply with professional ethics in publishing public information. In some cases, business conglomerates own multiple newspapers and TV channels. Media-ownership concentration has been increasing over the last several years due to the purchase of media outlets by domestic and foreign companies. In addition, although state and municipal institutions cannot legally act as producers of public information, the Druskininkai municipality finances a newspaper that is freely distributed to local people by working through an educational organization. In 2014, the Vilnius district court ruled that the Druskininkai municipality broke the law by publishing this newspaper. Between 2015 and 2016, other news of ruling municipal politicians limiting the independent reporting of regional media or close connections between ruling parties and regional media outlets surfaced, evidencing that on the municipal level pluralism of opinions is limited.
Citations:
See the 2007 Report of Transparency International (the Vilnius office) in http://transparency.lt/media/filer_ public/2013/01/22/skaidresnes_zinia sklaidos_link.pdf
See information by the Journalists‘ and Publishers‘ Ethics Commission http://www.lzlek.lt/index.php?lang=1&sid=371&tid=400
Luxembourg
All of Luxembourg’s six daily newspapers have links of some sort to political parties. One of the six dailies, La Voix, a French language supplement of the leading newspaper, Luxemburger Wort, was shut down in fall 2012. There is a marked imbalance of strength and influence among newspapers, which generally reflects the strength of their political sponsors. The Luxemburger Wort is owned by the Catholic Church and therefore has ties to the Christian Social People’s Party. In 2016, it had a circulation of 69,700 copies (2015: 70,410), a staggering number considering Luxembourg’s population of 590,000. This figure is also larger than the combined circulation of its competitors.

The media landscape was shaken with the launch of two free daily newspapers. The market share of the Luxemburger Wort fell to 32%, while that of L’Essentiel, the most successful of the free papers, recorded a share of 27.1% in 2017. L’Essentiel and Tageblatt (Luxembourg’s second-largest newspaper, with a market share of about 8.7%) are both published by Editpress, which has ties to the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party and the socialist trade union OGB-L. The conservative media group Saint-Paul, publisher of the Luxemburger Wort, is losing ground because of increased competition and societal changes. Not only did it shut down La Voix, it also abandoned the free newspaper market by closing down its own paper, Point24 in December 2012. In March 2018, an ambitious internet newspaper project driven by younger journalists will launch: Reporter.lu. These developments, in addition to a restructuring of the Luxemburger Wort, are signs of change in Luxembourg’s media market.

Radio Télé Luxembourg has no competitors in the television market and remains well ahead in radio, despite liberalization launched in the early 1990s, which led to the creation of public broadcaster Radio 100,7. With 37.2%, RTL’s audience share in 2017 is much higher than that of second ranking Elodoradio (23.3%). Two new radio stations began broadcasting in 2016. In addition, Chamber TV transmits live parliamentary sessions as well as weekly background information and news programs on Mondays. It is owned by the Chamber of Deputies and only broadcasts on those specific occasions.
Citations:
Des médias. Service information et presse du gouvernement luxembourgeois, 2013. www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/publications/e/ap-medias/AP-Medias-2013-FR.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“Luxembourg.” Eurotopics, www.eurotopics.net/fr/142186/medias?search=&country=146415&language=0&art=0&circulation=0&typ=2#results. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“Médias.” Eurotopics, www.eurotopics.net/fr/home/medienlandschaft/luxmdn/. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“Presse écrite.” Le portail officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, www.luxembourg.public.lu/fr/le-grand-duche-se-presente/medias/presse-ecrite/index.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Projet mondial de monitorage des médias (GMMP) 2015 – Rapport national. Conseil National des Femmes du Luxembourg, 2015. www.cnfl.lu/site/GMMP_LU_rapport%20final%202015.pdf. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Étude TNS Ilres Plurimedia Luxembourg 2017. TNS ILRES, 2017. http://paperjam.lu/sites/default/files/communique_de_presse_etudeplurimedia_20171.pdf. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

„Wer wir sind.“ http://www.reporter.lu/wer-wir-sind. Accessed 27 Jan. 2018.

“L’essentiel Radio bientôt sur les ondes!La première radio francophone du Luxembourg commencera à émettre après la mi-février sur la fréquence 107.7 MHz.” http://www.lessentiel.lu/fr/news/luxembourg/story/L-essentiel-Radio-bientot-sur-les-ondes–15318466. Accessed 9 Feb. 2018.
Portugal
Portugal’s media market is competitive and relatively diversified. There are four free broadcast-television networks – one public (RTP, with two channels) and two private (SIC and TVI), each of the latter owned by a different media conglomerate (Impresa and Media Capital). In the aftermath of the transition to digital television, the Portuguese Assembly’s own channel, ARTV (previously only available on cable), was added to the roster of free channels in December 2012.

The national cable television news channels, once restricted to offerings from the RTP and SIC groups, has been diversifying substantially since 2009.

The newspaper market has shown diversification, with several leading groups emerging. The Global Media Group holds several relevant titles, notably Jornal de Notícias (a leading daily in northern Portugal) and Diário de Notícias (another leading daily newspaper). The Impresa group also controls some print outlets, its flagship being the influential Expresso weekly. Meanwhile, the Sonae group is behind another influential title, the daily Público. Cofina Media owns the Correio da Manhã tabloid and the daily Jornal de Negócios financial newspaper, while Newsplex owns The Sol weekly and “i” daily. There is also an online daily newspaper called Observador with a classical liberal orientation (as set out in its editorial statutes).

This diversity results in a degree of pluralism of views and opinions. At the same time, it must be noted that most media outlets – notably newspapers – face considerable financial challenges. Indeed, the period under review saw the Cofina group fire around 30 journalists in April 2017.

These financial challenges have also produced considerable volatility in media-ownership patterns. In August 2017, it came to light that the Impresa group was seeking to sell some of its titles. However, a more problematic issue during this period was telecom and cable supplier Altice’s attempt to take over the Media Capital group, which includes the TVI television channels as well as several radio stations and internet news services. Although the parties agreed to this purchase in July 2017, the sale had not been finalized by the end of the review period, and remained dependent on approval by the Competition Authority.
Citations:
Observador, “Estatuto Editorial,” available online at: http://observador.pt/estatuto-editorial/
Spain
In terms of media demand, citizens have become more interested in politics during this era of crisis as they seek solutions to ongoing problems. However, economic adversity also limits participatory resources. The empirical evidence shows that the two processes – a stronger motivation to acquire knowledge, but fewer resources to do so – are running somewhat in parallel. Even if print media show reduced sales, the Spanish population’s growing access to the internet (with a penetration rate of approximately 75%) and the widespread use of social networks have encouraged the proliferation of electronic newspapers and independent blogs that counterbalance oligopolistic trends and guarantee that certain opinions can be expressed in public debate. The largest newspaper is the very influential center-left El País. Other nationwide newspapers include the center-right El Mundo and the conservative ABC, published by the Vocento Group, which also owns many local newspapers in the Basque Autonomous Community and other regions. In Catalonia, the moderate nationalist La Vanguardia is the market leader. There is no print newspaper that represents genuinely left-leaning ideas, but progressive digital publications such as publico.es and eldiario.es have enjoyed considerable growth. There are also significant liberal and conservative digital media such as elconfidencial.com and the new elespanol.com. The country’s most-read information websites are the electronic versions of print newspapers. With regard to television, the Italian company Mediaset is the leading group in the country (owning the most-viewed TV channel, Telecinco, as well as Cuatro and other minor channels). This is followed by Atresmedia Corporación (including both the right-wing Antena 3 and the more leftist channel La Sexta). Mediaset España and Atresmedia controlled 85% of the Spanish TV ad market in 2017. In addition, there is the public broadcaster Televisión Española as well as regional public-television networks and small private stations.

The radio market is dominated by the center-left SER station followed by the center-right Onda Cero, the Cadena Cope (that belongs to the Catholic Church) and the publicly owned Radio Nacional de España (RNE). The limited pluralism of public channels and some private channels hampers informed public opinion.
Citations:
Febrero-marzo 2017, Audiencia de Internet en el EGM
http://www.aimc.es/a1mc-c0nt3 nt/uploads/2017/05/internet117.pdf

Media Pluralism Monitor 2016 Monitoring Risks for Media Pluralism in the EU and Beyond, Country report: Spain
http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstre am/handle/1814/46812/Cover_Spain_re v2EN.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Netherlands
The Dutch media landscape is very pluralistic but nonetheless subject to a gradual narrowing of media ownership, internationalization and rapid commercialization. On the other hand, availability of (foreign and national) web-based TV and radio has increased tremendously. The Dutch media landscape is still characterized by one of the world’s highest newspaper-readership rates. Innovations in newspaper media include tabloids, Sunday editions, and new-media editions (online, mobile phone, etc.). On a regional level, the one-paper-city model is now dominant; there are even several cities lacking local papers altogether.

The degree of ownership concentration in the print media is high. Three publishers control 90% of the paid newspapers circulated, and foreign ownership of print media outlets is growing. As the circulation of traditional magazines decreases, publishers are launching new titles to attract readers. There are currently at least 8,000 different magazine titles available for Dutch readers. Print outlets – both newspapers and magazines – carry a high share of advertising, but this is declining. There are several public and private television and radio stations at the national, regional and local levels. The three public channels continue to lose viewers. The Netherlands also shows one of Europe’s highest rates of cable TV penetration (about 95%). Internet usage rates in the Netherlands are high, and many people are connected through broadband (almost 50% of Dutch households). Ten million Dutch use the internet on a regular basis, amounting to almost 95.5% of the population over six years old.

In the European Union’s Media Pluralism Monitor 2017, the Netherlands was characterized low risk in the domains of basic protection, political independence and social inclusiveness. However, the country was characterized medium risk in market plurality and high risk for concentration of cross-media ownership, as there are no legal restrictions at all and transparency of ownership is low. Consequently, a typical person’s media sources are likely to be controlled by the same, one owner. This requires better regulation of media mergers.
Citations:
Media Monitor:
http://www.mediamonitor.nl/

P. Bakker, 30 jaar kranten in Nederland: consolidatie en monopolievorming, in mediamonitor.nl., consulted 5 November 2014

Media Pluralism Monitor 2017 - Results, Netherlands, October 2017 (monitor.cmpf.eui.eu, consulted 13 October 2017)
UK
The strong concentration of newspaper ownership has long been a feature of the United Kingdom’s media market and that continues to be the case. The BBC as a public-service broadcaster has a dominant position, especially with regard to broadcast and online news. There is a long tradition of powerful individual owners, such as Rupert Murdoch (News Corporation), dating back to the 19th century. This coexists with a lively regional newspaper scene. However, regional newspapers have little influence in terms of national opinion.

The electronic media and television market, in contrast, is much more balanced and also required by regulation to be politically neutral.

The support of the Murdoch media empire has been considered politically crucial over the last two decades. The firm has been very influential particularly in terms of the United Kingdom’s position toward European integration. Following the News of the World scandal and the enquiry into corporate standards at News Corporation, Murdoch’s influence may have been weakened, but that of the Daily Mail Group remains strong. In addition, the Leveson Inquiry has demanded higher diversity in ownership and tighter regulation on media mergers, both of which (if enacted) could also work toward more diversity of opinion. The press, collectively, has strongly opposed attempts to circumscribe the freedom of opinion, and the matter remains unresolved.
6
Belgium
Relatively few actors have an ownership stake in the major private-media companies, a situation normal within an economy of this size and within an oligopolistic market. In practice, the various media outlets (television, radio, print and web) offer a diverse range of opinion, and most political positions are well represented. The boards of Belgium’s two large public-media entities for radio and television (the Flemish VRT and the francophone RTBF) are composed of representatives from most political parties, including opposition parties (from among the main parliamentary parties).

One issue affecting media outlets is the growing financial stress on print media. Tighter budgets have restricted newspapers’ ability to pursue in-depth investigations on a systematic basis, and have in general diminished some of the public scrutiny that a free press is in theory supposed to exert.
Canada
Media ownership in Canada is concentrated, with a small number of Canadian-owned and Canadian-controlled media conglomerates dominating the mainstream print and electronic media. There is also strong media concentration in some parts of the country (e.g., the Irving newspapers in New Brunswick). A case can be made that this has led to a lack of diversity in views and positions. For example, mainstream media outlets rarely support social-democratic political parties. The mainstream print media argue that while their editorials generally express a right-wing or centrist political orientation, they make an effort to seek out contributors with left-wing perspectives and to provide balanced coverage of issues. Whether this is indeed the case is, however, doubtful.

While alternative sources of information such as online newspapers, magazines and social media (e.g., blogs) may help promote a pluralism of opinions, mainstream media likely will continue to play a crucial role in setting the national agenda. In this regard, the concentration of media ownership in Canada means that certain opinions are not represented to the degree that they are held by the general population.
Iceland
Media ownership in Iceland can be divided into three blocs, two private ones and one public.

There is one state-owned TV station (RÚV - Sjónvarp) and two state-owned radio channels (RÚV - Rás1 and RÚV - Rás2). There are also five private national TV channels (Stöð2, Sjónvarp Símans, ÍNN, Hringbraut, and N4) and two national private radio channels, separately owned. Until March 2017, the private 365 Media Corporation (365 Miðlar) owned a TV station (Stöð 2), Bylgjan radio station and Fréttablaðið, the larger of the country’s two daily newspapers. 365 Media Corporation was the largest media actor in Iceland and has clear connections to Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, a business magnate and former bank owner until the 2008 economic collapse. But in March 2017, 365 Media Corporation sold all the TV, radio, and multimedia components of the company to Vodafone – everything except the newspaper Fréttablaðið, which is distributed free of charge to nearly all households in the country. Subsequently, Síminn and Vodafone will own the largest privately-run TV stations in Iceland. Síminn operates Sjónvarp Símans (Síminn’s TV) while Vodafone is now the owner of all of 365’s broadcast media, namely the TV stations (Stöð 2, Stöð 2 Sport, Stöð 3 and Bíórásin) and radio stations (Bylgjan, FM957 and X-ið).

Morgunblaðið, the second biggest newspaper after Fréttablaðið – still owned by 365 Miðlar, has long been considered the voice of the Independence Party. Its chief editor since 2009 is the former Independence Party prime minister, Davíð Oddsson. Other newspapers include DV, Stundin and Kjarninn, an online news site founded in 2013 by disgruntled journalists previously employed by Morgunblaðið. Fréttatíminn, established in 2010, went out of business in 2017.

Given the somewhat broader ownership of TV and radio media combined with several smaller TV broadcasters, radio stations and newspapers, media ownership in Iceland can be considered fairly pluralistic.
Israel
The pluralistic makeup of Israeli society is reflected by the press landscape, which includes more than a dozen daily newspapers and a wide range of weeklies and news websites serving readers from various religious, ethnic and linguistic groups. A similarly diverse selection of broadcast media is also available in Israel, including local radio stations that cater to the country’s regional communities as well as the ultra-orthodox, Russian-speaking and Arabic-speaking populations.

Israeli policy toward media pluralism follows a “multivalued approach,” in the sense that it views an open media field as a part of the democratic order, and thus values it not only for economic purposes but for normative ones as well. This view justifies utilizing special regulatory tools (as opposed to exclusive antitrust regulation) in order to prevent concentration of ownership and cross-ownership in the media sector. In this spirit, media regulation in Israel also addresses issues of content (specifically regarding issues of local production and censorship).

In practice, media regulation in Israel largely structural, controlling ownership in broadcast organizations (radio, public television, and private television via cable or satellite). The regulators are charged with authorizing broadcast rights and enforcing regulations in matters of ownership concentration, cross-ownership and foreign ownership. According to the Freedom House 2017 report, ownership concentration among private broadcast stations remains an issue of concern. The print media is not under the same restraints and is instead addressed through antitrust regulation or voluntary self-regulation. Most news websites in Israel are operated by print-media companies. There are current attempts to expand regulation within the digital sphere, but as of the time of writing, the parliament had passed no laws in this area.

A comprehensive media-ownership map that tracks the identities of tycoons, corporations and other entities that control Israel’s media companies and outlets shows diversified ownership structures both in the electronic and print-media markets. The public and regulated private media compensates for deficiencies or biases in private-media reporting by ensuring representation of a wide range of opinions. Israel’s diverse newspaper industry was joined in 2007 by “Israel Hayom,” a free daily newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson, an American businessman who is openly aligned with the prime minister and the Likud party. This paper quickly captured 40% of the market, thus raising concerns due to its partisan coverage and its negative effect on competing commercial newspapers.
Citations:
Agmon, Tamir and Tsadik, Ami, “Analyzing economic ramifications of centralization and cross ownerships in the Media,” Knesset Research and Information Center, 2.11.2011 (Hebrew)

Tal, Yizhar and Ivry-Omer, Dina, “Regulation of electronic communications services in Israel: The need to establish a communications Authority,” Policy research 76 IDI, November 2009: http://en.idi.org.il/media/277043/pp_76.pdf (Hebrew)

Tucker, Nati, “Why did Shlom Ben Tzvi disappear?,” theMarker 3.10.2014: http://www.themarker.com/markerweek/1.2449472 (Hebrew).

Zrahiya, Zvi, “Israel’s media is riddled with alien interests,” 15.11.2011, http://www.haaretz.com/business/israel-s-media-is-riddled-with-alien-i nterests1.395639?localLinksEnabled =false

“Freedom of the Press: Israel 2017,” Freedom House, 2017, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2017/israel

Media Ownership Map, The Seventh Eye website: http://www.the7eye.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/the-7th-eye-israel-media-ownership-map2016-english.pdf
Japan
Japan has an oligopolistic media structure, with five conglomerates controlling the leading national newspapers and the major TV networks. These include Asahi, Fuji Sankei, Mainichi, Yomiuri and the Nihon Keizai Group. Another major force is NHK, the public broadcasting service, which rarely criticizes the status quo to any significant degree. The NHK director-general installed by the LDP-led government in 2013 has made it clear that he intends to follow the government’s viewpoint. The main media groups also tend to avoid anything beyond a mildly critical coverage of issues, although a variety of stances from left-center (Asahi) to conservative-nationalistic (Sankei) can be observed.

Generally speaking, the small group of conglomerates and major organizations dominating the media does not capture the pluralism of opinions in Japan. Regional newspapers and TV stations are not serious competitors.

However, hew competition has emerged from international media, and particularly from interactive digital-media sources such as blogs, bulletin boards, e-magazines and social networks. Their use is spreading rapidly, while the circulation of traditional newspapers is in decline. The loss of public trust in the government and major media organizations may have intensified the move toward greater use of independent media channels, also opening some new potential for independent investigative journalism. Such channels tend to cater to their specific audiences, however. So while there is more pluralism, there is also a tendency toward increasingly one-sided interpretations of events. Among Japanese youths, right-wing internet channels have gained a considerable following.
Citations:
Alessia Cerantola, Investigative Journalism in Japan: Tough Times But Signs of Hope, Global Investigative Journalism Network, 6 July 2017, https://gijn.org/2017/07/06/investigative-journalism-in-japan-tough-times-but-signs-of-hope/
Malta
Maltese media outlets, including visual media, electronic media and print publications, are primarily owned by a mix of actors: political parties, the Catholic Church, private entrepreneurs and the General Workers’ Union (GWU), a major left-wing trade union. Thus, Malta’s media landscape reflects a plurality of ownership. Pluralism of opinion within the media depends entirely on the willingness of ownership to allow the publication or dissemination of opposing viewpoints or dissent from current orthodoxy. The state media, by extending access to private media outlets, has expanded plurality of viewpoints and has had few legal cases brought against it. The state fulfills its obligations better now than in the past. However, competition for market share has forced both privately-owned and politically-owned media to publish dissenting opinions more readily. A report on media pluralism in Malta shows a high score in terms of basic protection and market plurality, but a lower score for political independence and social inclusiveness. It also pointed out that Malta is the only EU country where the two major political parties own television and radio stations as well as newspapers. According to the Media Pluralism Monitor 2016, media ownership is transparent but data on revenues are not available. Most of the risk-increasing factors relate to the lack of data on the media market, lack of protection for and self-regulation by journalists, and the lack of a media literacy policy. In a 2016 European Commission report on media pluralism, 76% of respondents stated that the media provide a diversity of views and opinions, 48% thought the media was more free and independent than five years ago; Malta showed the most improved score over the past five years in both cases. Notwithstanding, only 28% thought that the media provide information free from political or commercial pressure.
Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/article s/view/20130428/opinion/Making-PBS- a-fit-national-entity.467423
http: //www.timesofmalta.com/articles/vie w/20130423/local/new-pbs-chairman-t hanks-the-pm.466622
http://www.tim esofmalta.com/articles/view/2013042 5/local/Time-for-changing-of-the-gu ard-at-PBS.467040
Media Pluralism in Malta, A Test Implementation of the Media Pluralism Monitor 2015
Media Pluralism in Malta, A Test Implementation of the Media Pluralism Monitor 2016
Slovakia
As other East-Central European countries, Slovakia has experienced a passing of private media ownership from foreign owners to intransparent domestic owners. A large number of media outlets are now directly or indirectly controlled by various Slovak financial groups (such as Penta, Grafobal Group, and J&T). In autumn 2014, the Penta financial group entered the media market, buying 45% of Petit Press from the German Rheinisch Bergische Verlagsgesellschaft (RBVG), which publishes the Sme daily, Slovakia’s most influential political daily – a transaction finally approved by the Anti-Monopoly Office in June 2016. Penta, whose true owners are still unknown, has also acquired two other publishing houses, and controls the economic weekly Trend, the daily Plus Jeden Deň and the weekly Plus 7 Dní (the latter two of which are tabloids). In addition, it operates websites and purchases advertising space via its media agency. The electronic public media only partly compensate for the ongoing concentration of ownership in print media. More recently, there are plans for the Chinese energy and investment group CEFC and the financial group Penta to jointly purchase the media group Central European Media Enterprises (CME). CME owns several TV stations in six central and eastern European countries, including the most watched private broadcaster in Slovakia, Markíza. If CEFC and Penta bought CME, this would lead to a significant concentration of the media in Slovakia, as all big media outlets would be connected. In response, the minister of culture, Marek Maďarič, announced a plan to strengthen the regulation of media cross ownership.
 
Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize either the electronic or the print media market. Important opinions are represented but there are no or only weak institutional guarantees against the predominance of certain opinions.
5
Australia
Australia has a very high degree of concentration of media ownership, with the ownership of national and state newspapers being divided mainly between two companies: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the John Fairfax Group. The concentration of newspaper ownership has resulted in a low level of diversity in reporting and editorial positions. There is slightly more diversity in broadcast media, with the government funding two bodies, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service, to provide a balance to the main commercial outlets. There are also three main commercial companies, none of which is politically aligned.

It is likely that the concentration of media ownership will increase following the passing of amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. The amendments repeal two regulations that currently prevent any single person from controlling commercial television licenses that broadcast to more than 75% of the federal population or controlling more than two regulated forms of media (i.e., commercial radio, commercial TV or associated newspapers) in one commercial radio license area.
Austria
The Austrian media system features a distinct lack of pluralism in both the broadcast- and print-media sectors. The TV and radio markets are still dominated by the public Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF). By law, the ORF is required to follow a policy of internal pluralism, which in practice translates primarily into a reflection of the various political parties’ current strength in parliament. Thus, interests and movements not yet established in the political system may occasionally suffer a disadvantage.

The print-media sector is highly concentrated, with a single daily paper (Die Krone) accounting for a 40% market share on a circulation basis. This paper carries political weight insofar as politicians of various parties seek to please its editor and staff, a situation that erodes the fair and open democratic competition of ideas and interests. Print-media organization are no longer owned by parties or organized interest groups, and the concentration can be seen as a consequence of market forces and the small size of the Austrian market.

Regional monopolies also pose a threat to media pluralism. In some federal states, a single daily paper dominates the market. Once again, the small size of the Austrian media market is largely responsible.

On the other side, the increasing importance of new social media have created a different problem: How to guarantee the minimal degree of media fairness in the new media?
Bulgaria
Media pluralism in Bulgaria is supported by a quite diversified ownership structure. The sheer plurality of media outlets ensures relatively broad coverage of different points of view. At the same time, however, the ownership structure is often opaque. It is often unclear who the actual owners are, and what their business and political interests are, even though over the last two years at least one well known de facto owner of print media (Delyan Peevski) has made his ownership official. A very significant recent development is the rising importance of online media, including blogging and various independent sites, which have begun to influence the overall information process. These online resources played a prominent role in the referendum and election campaigns in 2015, 2016 and 2017 – and seem to be ever more actively used at the expense of traditional media.
Chile
In general terms, the high concentration of media ownership in Chile notoriously limits democratic debate. This is especially the case among print media, which is practically a duopoly. The El Mercurio group and Copesa together account for much of the country’s print sector, have the greatest share of readers and control of a considerable amount of the country’s advertising portfolio. The papers owned by these two dominant groups offer essentially uniform political-ideological projects, editorial positions, styles and news coverage. However, these newspapers tend to be more influential among Chile’s upper-middle class and political elites than among the broader public. The official government daily, La Nación, presents views and opinions that run counter to those in the dominant papers; however, its print edition was eliminated during the administration of former President Sebastián Piñera (although it is still accessible online). A similar pattern can be found in the public-television sector, but on the whole the electronic sector offers a more diversified scope of opinion (especially on local radio stations and in a few online publications). In general, there is a very narrow informational mainstream, with the government-owned TVN being the most dominant free station. Whether it presents politically balanced views and provides access to all viewpoints is a point of debate. By the end of the period under review, TVN has been declared bankrupt and the future of the channel seemed uncertain as the parliament will have to decide by the end of 2017 whether to provide public funds and guarantee its functioning or privatize the channel.
France
Media pluralism is reasonably guaranteed in France. Yet nearly all newspapers, daily or weekly, local or national, are under the control of either rich business people or companies or banks. Among the few exceptions are a regional newspaper in the western part of France and the daily newspaper La Croix. Whereas on the national level there is a wide range of newspapers expressing political pluralism, the local and regional situation is normally characterized by a monopoly or quasi-monopoly position of one paper in a given geographical area. The print run of daily newspapers is low by Western standards and has been negatively affected by online publications. The print market is largely in decline and suffers financially. The situation is further aggravated by an obsolete, inefficient, corporatist and costly system of distribution that is controlled by the unions. Many newspapers are put in jeopardy due to the costs and general malfunctioning of the distribution system. Faced with online competition, rising costs and a shrinking readership, print media have had to rely more and more on the benevolence of wealthy entrepreneurs or on the state. Given the multiple ties between political and business elites in France, this is not a particularly favorable situation for the maintenance of a vibrant culture of print media pluralism. This being said, the proliferation of online news media and online offerings by print media or “pure players” (like Mediapart, Rue89, Slate and Atlantico) should be taken in account. They contribute to media pluralism, whereas social media networks – which are gaining more and more influence – tend to focus on scandals, and disseminate partial information or fake news. While social media networks may play an important role in facilitating whistle blowers, they are unable to offer in-depth analysis and well-grounded information.
Greece
There are a large number of electronic and print media organizations, but the structure of ownership remains oligopolistic with strong cross-ownership across media formats. In a country of 11 million inhabitants, there are more than 120 analog private TV stations with a national, regional or local license. There are also approximately 950 regional/local radio stations.

The exact ownership structure of media outlets is concealed by the holding companies and little-known entities listed in official records, and no exact ownership information is available. Extensive cross-media ownership is common and this has negatively affected media independence. Wealthy businessmen with interests in shipping, telecommunications and other industries dominate the largest private TV, radio and social media channels.

Four of the biggest TV channels (Mega, Antenna, Star, Skai) attract the majority of viewers, as they offer popular shows, including Turkish and Brazilian soap operas, and infotainment. Their owners also hold majority shares in national daily newspapers (He Kathimerini, Ta Nea, Ethnos).

During June to September 2016, the Syriza-ANEL tried to regulate the media field by passing a law that would allow only four nationwide TV channels to function in the country as a whole. The four new licenses would be for sale and would be granted to the highest bidder. The number of licenses and the bidding process were to be supervised not by the competent independent authority, the National Council of Radio and Television (ESR), but by a government minister. While the media field clearly needed to be regulated after two and a half decades of regulatory instability and uncertainty, critics rightly understood this governmental endeavor as a challenge to established media owners, if not a challenge to media pluralism. In fact, this government initiative was partly annulled in October 2016 by Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court (StE)

Electronic media is also flourishing in the form of websites and blogs. There are an unknown number of anti-establishment electronic media. Some of them have become critical of Syriza and ANEL after their coalition government failed to follow up on their pre-electoral promises. The influence of anti-establishment media, some of which are to the left of Syriza, while others are closer to the far right, is difficult to assess, although one suspects it is quite large.

The print media landscape is also pluralistic. There are 59 national newspapers and around 500 regional/local ones. However, between 1990 and 2008, circulation dropped by 50%. There are at least three pro-government Athens-based daily newspapers, while a similar number are critical of the government. In the beginning of 2017, the Syriza-ANEL government tried to gain indirect control of a major but heavily indebted press group, the Lambrakis group (DOL), through the attempt of a pro-government Greek-Russian tycoon to buy DOL. Eventually, the highest bidder was another tycoon who is not linked to the government but who already controls Greece’s richest soccer team (Olympiacos) and has business interests in shipping and other sectors. In other words, private media enterprises have been changing hands but the overall oligopolistic nature of the media sector has not been altered.

For example, the owners of major Athenian Sunday newspapers (e.g., He Kathimerini, To Ethnos) also have shares in the major private TV channels. Some other large Sunday newspapers offer sensationalist coverage (Real News, Proto Thema). There are also regional daily newspapers in large cities.

While Greece lacks an effective anti-monopoly policy for the media business, the media actually do indeed report a wide range of opinions. The government voices its opinions through the state-owned TV broadcaster (ERT) and friendly newspapers and radio stations. The opposition has a voice in the media, as political party leaders participate daily in state and private TV and radio programs. Regardless of their political profile, however, some marginal newspapers and even “He Avgi,” an official party newspaper (Syriza), do not refrain from publishing news and reports which, at times, border on smear campaigns against political opponents.
Citations:
Information and analysis on media cross-ownership and newspaper circulation in 1990-2008 is drawn on Nikos Leandros, “Media Concentration and Systemic Failures in Greece,” International Journal of Communication, vol 4, 2010, pp. 886-905. Information on the numbers of print and electronic media businesses and media ownership in Greece is available at Evangelia Psychogiopoulou, Dia Anagnostou and Anna Kandyla, “Does Media Policy Promote Media Freedom and Independence? The Case of Greece,” case study report included in ELIAMEP’s MEDIADEM research program, available at http://www.mediadem.eliamep.gr/wp-c ontent/uploads/2012/01/Greece.pdf. Accessed on 08.06.2013.
Mexico
The Mexican media is much more diversified and politically pluralist than it was a generation ago, but ownership is still highly concentrated. Despite Peña Nieto’s telecommunication reform, broadcasting continues to be characterized by oligopolistic ownership. In this area, very little has changed thus far and changes appear unlikely in the near future given the government’s close ties to the broadcasting company Televisa. Lack of government support has left regulators, like the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), essentially toothless.

Younger Mexicans take full advantage of internet-based media, which have grown in both size and significance and offer a wide spectrum of information. The development of online media has done much to enhance pluralism, but it has also created new challenges. There is evidence of news website being hacked and of spyware being used against journalists and activists. Moreover, broadband access and cellphone coverage are highly unequal, with rural and marginalized citizens unable to take advantage of these new sources of information. This is unlikely to change in the near future.
Citations:
Latin American Regional Report: Mexico & NAFTA (February 2017). “Telecoms Reforms fail to impress sharp-eyed viewers.”
Poland
Poland’s media market is one of the largest in Europe, offering a diverse mix of public and private media organizations and reflecting a broad spectrum of political opinions. While the public TV station TVP and its four channels claim a large share of the market, and local authorities often publish newspapers and magazines, most Polish print media and radio in general are privately owned. Despite a tendency toward concentration, media ownership remains diversified. Foreign owners still control more than half of the Polish media market. Compared to other countries in East-Central Europe, Poland’s media-ownership structures are relatively transparent, and there are no “media moguls” in the market who use their ownership positions to further a political agenda. Since the 2015 elections, however, media pluralism has substantially declined. For one thing, the public media have become highly partisan. For another, the PiS government has sought to limit the market shares of independent media. It has forced state-owned enterprises to refrain from placing advertisements in newspapers considered leftist or liberal. Gazeta Wyborcza, the main daily, for instance reported a 21% loss in ad sales in 2016 due to this ban. Likewise, public gas stations and other enterprises have been urged not to sell particular newspapers. In addition, the new bill on measures to limit foreign media ownership will decrease media pluralism.
Slovenia
Slovenia currently has about 1,400 different media outlets, including more than 80 radio and 50 television broadcasters (both local and cable operators). However, the public-media market share is still substantial, with Radio-Television of Slovenia (Radiotelevizija Slovenija, RTVS) running seven out of 10 national TV and radio channels (for TV: SLO1, SLO2, SLO3; for radio: Program A, Program Ars, Val 202 and Radio Slovenia International).

Recent ownership changes have raised concerns about media pluralism. in the print media, the controversial sale in July 2014 of Večer, the fourth-largest daily newspaper (primarily serving the northeastern part of the country), was followed by the auctioning of Slovenia’s biggest newspaper publisher Delo in June 2015. The new owner, the financial management company FMR, has little to no media experience and is run by Stojan Petrič, a business man who is believed to be politically well connected. In early 2016, FMR made the former head of its public relations division, Gregor Knafelec, a man with no journalistic experience, editor-in-chief of Delo. Several prominent journalists were fired and some quit, and as a result of these changes, sales of Delo newspaper dropped to the lowest level so far in March 2017, 63% lower than in 2014. In the electronic media, the U.S. media conglomerate, United Media received the green light from the Ministry of Culture to take over Pro Plus, the operator of the largest commercial TV channels in Slovenia, POP TV and Kanal A in October 2017. As a result, United Media, which also provides telecommunication services and is a big player in the Balkan countries, will control a huge slice of Slovenian media.

Media pluralism has further suffered from the growing involvement of political parties in the media business. In February 2016, the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), which has long complained about an alleged media bias, launched its own private news TV station, Nova24TV. Nova24TV got new owners in early 2017 with three Hungarian companies taking over, reported to be connected to the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán. In September 2017, the SDS also started to publish the new weekly Scandal24.
South Korea
South Korea has a vibrant and diverse media sector that includes various cable, terrestrial and satellite television stations, and more than 100 daily newspapers in Korean and English. As the country has the world’s highest internet penetration rates, a great number of readers today gain news exclusively from online sources. Yet despite the great variety of offerings, the diversity of content remains limited. The print media is dominated by three major newspapers: Chosun Ilbo, Dong-a Ilbo and Joong Ang Ilbo. Although the combined market share of these three outlets is declining, it remained at about 65% in 2014, according to the Korea Press Foundation. Smaller alternative newspapers also exist. The major newspapers are politically conservative and business-friendly, partly because they depend to a very large degree on advertising revenues. There is more pluralism in the broadcasting sector due to the mix of public and private media. However, the diversity of political opinions in this arena is threatened by government influence over broadcasters’ personnel policies.

At the same time, newspapers and TV are losing importance as a source of information, particularly among the younger generations. Among these consumers, internet sources such as NewsTapa, GoBal News and AfreecaTV have become increasingly important sources of information. NewsTapa, launched by a former journalist forcibly dismissed for political reasons during the Lee Myung-bak administration, is the only Korean member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. It has gradually been gaining popularity by reporting on issues ignored by the mainstream media.
Citations:
Youn S., Lee H. (2015) The Ongoing Media Pluralism Debate in South Korea. In: Valcke P., Sükösd M., Picard R.G. (eds) Media Pluralism and Diversity. Palgrave
Media Us. “Eight years after Media Law,” July 21, 2017. http://www.mediaus.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=96976 (In Korean)
Freedom of the Press 2016, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2016/south-korea
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Croatia
Media pluralism in Croatia is limited. The TV market is dominated by the public TV station Croatian Radiotelevision (Hrvatska radiotelevizija, HRT) and two private broadcasters, Nova TV and RTL. In November 2017, Croatia’s Electronic Media Council (AZTN) blocked the sale of Nova TV by CME to Slovenia Broadband, a subsidiary of United Media, which already owns Total TV, another leading provider of digital services in Croatia. The market for print media has likewise been dominated by a handful of companies. The Agrokor group, which fell apart in 2017, had owned the single distribution network for print media and most marketing agencies and, thus, advertising budgets. It has been highly indebted with several media companies, so that its restructuring will have an impact on the media market as well.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s media market has been affected by major changes in the last few years. Private-media companies are increasingly subject to influence by their well-funded owners. Private and public companies are replacing public-interest content with programs seeking high audience ratings. In September 2011, the New Zealand Press Association, New Zealand’s largest news agency, closed. It was replaced by three news services, which are all Australian-owned. Consequently, apart from the Otago Daily Times, New Zealand is now one of only a handful of countries that does not have a domestically owned news agency.

New Zealand’s media market is dominated by foreign companies (mainly from Australia), although there are two public television stations (Maori TV, TVNZ) and one national public radio station called Radio New Zealand. Sky TV monopolizes pay TV. However, Igloo, a joint Sky Network Television and Television New Zealand (TVNZ) venture, has made a small selection of pay TV channels available at low cost since 2012.

In September 2016, two Australian media giants, Fairfax and APN, signed a deal to merge their New Zealand businesses, Fairfax NZ and NZME respectively. The Commerce Commission rejected the merger in May of 2017, raising doubts about whether or not this amounted to a win or lose situation for democracy.

Bloggers have gained prominence as an alternative to traditional media offers. Some of them concern themselves with political affairs and reach high numbers of visitors. Despite this development, continued constraints on media funding help prevent a strong investigative reporting culture from developing.
Citations:
Fairfax-APN merger more bad news for media diversity. The Conversation. 12 May 2016 (http://theconversation.com/fairfax-apn-merger-more-bad-news-for-media-diversity-59232) (accessed September 26, 2016).
JMAD New Zealand Media Ownership Report 2015 (http://www.aut.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/608366/JMAD-2015-Report.pdf) (accessed September 26, 2016).
Edwards, Bryce. Political roundup: Congratulating and condemning media merger rejection. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11851457) (accessed January 15, 2018).
Romania
There is a large number of different media outlets in Romania, suggesting that Romanians have access to a multitude of information sources. But these sources lack diversity and predominantly represent the views of only the two major political parties. Many media outlets have shady owners and suffer from financial troubles. Editorial independence is limited.
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Hungary
Media pluralism in Hungary has suffered further both from increasing government control over the public media and a process of concentration of private-media ownership in the hands of companies close to Fidesz. Some media pluralism has been maintained, as a result of the rifts within the right-wing camp, by the media outlets owned by Simicska, including Hír TV (TV), Magyar Nemzet (daily), Index (the largest information website) and Heti Válasz (weekly). There are also some independent media, but they work under very difficult financial and political circumstances and reach only 10% of the overall population. Klubrádió, the one and only independent radio station, is on air only in Budapest. Népszava, the only national-wide independent daily, has a small circulation and the role of the former opposition daily Népszabadság, purchased by Fidesz affiliates and shut down in October 2016, cannot be compensated for by the remaining independent weeklies, as those address predominantly highly educated readers.
Citations:
Bayer, J. (2016): Media Pluralism in Hungary, in: P. Bárd, J. Bayer, A comparative analysis of media freedom and pluralism in the EU Member States: Study for the LIBE Committee. Brussels: EU, 120-139 (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/571376IPOL_STU(2016)571376_EN.pdf).
 
Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize both the electronic and the print media market. Few companies dominate the media, most programs are biased, and there is evidence that certain opinions are not published or are marginalized.
2
Turkey
In addition to the increasing restrictions on media freedom in Turkey (see “Media Freedom” section), the country’s dominant media structure features ownership by industrial conglomerates, strong links between political forces and media organizations, and a lack of unionization in the media (a so-called Mediterranean or polarized pluralist media model). This undermines pluralism in the media sector. Adopted in 2011, Law 6112 increased the maximum allowable foreign-ownership stake in media companies from 25% to 50%, with the condition that a single foreign investor cannot invest in more than two enterprises. Foreign companies still cannot be majority stakeholders in domestic media companies.

Several media outlets were sold to unknown owners, who are assumed to have close government ties. Bianet Report found that media ownership lacks transparency and no information is available about the concentration of media ownership. Political control of the media, media financing and news agencies is high. In October 2016, the Press Advertising Authority (BIK), which controls the allocation of state advertising, adopted a new policy under which newspapers whose ownership, management or employees face terrorism-related charges cannot benefit from state advertising.

The economic interests of media owners constitutes a key problem for media freedoms. Although Article 29 of Law 3984 restricts media owners’ shareholder rights, owners with stakes in other business sectors have still used media coverage to promote their outside business interests. A significant share of media owners are industrial conglomerates with interests that conflict with freedom of the press and opinion, and some have close relationships with the government. This further undermines media independence, and increases self-censorship and job insecurity among journalists. The number of outlets belonging to the so-called pool media (Havuz Medyası) – media owned by government-allied businesses which the government can use – has expanded.

Media Pluralism Report stated that the preselected media owners serve the government. The government uses economic tools or seizes media outlets to reconfigure the media environment. Dissident media outlets and critical journalists regularly face attacks and sanctions.

Journalists living inside and outside Turkey have found ways to publish on newly created news websites and portals. However, access to these websites from within Turkey is censored by the authorities.
Citations:
European Commission, Turkey 2016 Report, Brussels, 9.11.2016, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_turkey.pdf (accessed 1 November 2016).
Media Pluralism Monitor Results 2016, Turkey, http://cmpf.eui.eu/media-pluralism-monitor/mpm-2016-results/turkey/ (accessed 1 November 2017)
Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2017, Turkey Country report, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2017/turkey (accessed 1 November 2017)
Bianet, Media Monitoring Report April-May-June 2017, https://bianet.org/konu/bia-media-monitoring-report-april-may-june-2017 (accessed 1 November 2017).
Aslı Tunç, “Media Ownership and Finances in Turkey Increasing Concentration and Clientelism” Accessed June 15, 2016. http://mediaobservatory.net/sites/default/files/Media%20Ownership%20and%20Financ es%20in%20Turkey.pdf
Bianet, Media Ownership Monitor in Turkey, https://turkey.mom-rsf.org/tr/bulgular/gostergeler/#!255aab01a0f9f22f09246334c9edbfe8 (
Digital Transformations in Turkey: Current Perspectives in Communication Studies, Banu Akdenizli (ed.), Lexington Books Lantam, Boulder, New York London, 2015.
Sabahattin Önkibar, İmamlar ve Haramiler Medyası, İstanbul: Kırmızı Kedi Yayınevi, 2015.
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