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

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.
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. According to a recent report by Reporters without Borders, Finland ranks fourth in terms of newspaper readers per capita. 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 is almost 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 has generally been viewed as unbiased. Yleisradio is complemented by several private broadcasting companies.
Citations: k__kulttuuri_en.html#newspaper;
Ville Manninen & Heikki Kuutti, “Media Pluralism Monitor 2015 - Results - Finland”,
Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Use of information and communications technology by individuals [e-publication].
ISSN=2341-8710. Helsinki: Statistics Finland.
There are currently about 35 daily newspapers in Denmark. This includes six daily (Politiken, Jyllands-Posten, Berlingske, Børsen, Kristeligt Dagblad and Information), two main tabloids (BT and Ekstra Bladet) and several 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, Instagram, Twitter 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.
“Media Landscape – Denmark,” (accessed 10 October 2015).
“The media landscape in Denmark,” (accessed 20 October 2014).
“Media Landscape Denmark. Update May 2017,” (Accessed 25 September 2018).
“Denmark Newspapers,” (accessed 16 April 2013).
“Media Insights,” (Accessed 16 October 2017).
A great variety of newspapers exist in the country. There are 11 national newspapers (including two major daily broadsheets), 19 regional newspapers and several Russian-language newspapers. As a rule, newspapers are privately owned but some local and regional papers receive support from the municipalities or counties. Some weeklies (e.g., 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 (e.g., the independent or radical right enjoy an increasing number of followers.
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, in 2018 public broadcasters hold a market share of 47.8%, slightly more than in previous years. In the private sector, the RTL Group holds 20.6% market share, while the ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG accounts for 16.9% of the total television market. TV is the most used media (80%), followed by radio (65%) and the internet (63%). The rise of streaming media service providers like Netflix has led to a slight fall in the market share of private television broadcasters.

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. However, the latent economic crisis of newspapers and publishing houses may slowly but steadily undermine media pluralism.

With newspaper circulation continuously falling, the internet including the streaming media services 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. In summary, Germany has a comparatively plural and diversified media ownership structure and modestly decentralized television and radio markets.
The state-owned channels control a dominant share of the country’s TV and radio audience ratings, and increasingly also on digital platforms. 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.
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.
Andersson, U. et al. (eds.) (2017), Larmar och gör sig till (Gothenburg: The SOM Institute) (

Andersson, Ulrika, Anders Carlander, Elina Lindgren, Maria Oskarson (eds.) (2018), Sprickor i fasaden (Gothenburg: The SOM Institute).

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).
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 long-term trend toward concentration has reduced the number of independent newspapers to 92, this is a reduction of 8% in the period 2005-2017 (1950-1994: -35%, 1995-2005: -20%).

In a popular vote in March 2018, a proposal for a constitutional article on public radio and television was rejected by a large majority of 72%. The proposed article would have prohibited the federal government from subsidizing or running radio and television stations. This would have implied the abandonment of public radio and television. Although rejected, the debate on the initiative triggered reform processes within public radio/television, such as increasing efficiency and resources.
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.
A wide range of newspapers – national and local – are 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 to 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.

Broadcasters try to meet their statutory requirements of achieving balance in electoral coverage by adopting what Kevin Rafter describes as a “stopwatch” approach – making adjustments during the campaign to try and make sure that actual coverage closely corresponds to the pre-determined on-air allocations. This can be more difficult to judge at times when there is a large swing in the fortunes of the parties. The collapse of the Fianna Fáil vote at the 2011 election was a dramatic example of this difficulty. In 2011, RTE introduced a new weighting system composed of four elements (each element weighted at 25%), namely: first preference votes at the previous general election of 2007; percentage of seats held by the party at the time of the 2011 election; an estimate of the number of candidates nominated by each party in 2011; and an average of (a) mean opinion poll results from 2007 to 2011, (b) percentage of first preference votes in the 2009 European parliamentary elections and (c) first preference votes in the 2009 local government elections.
Kevin Rafter (2018), ‘The Media and Politics,’ in Politics in the Republic of Ireland (6th edition, Routledge).
In the context of the EU, Spain is unique in that a majority of adults (59%) consider the news media to be very important to society, even if a smaller portion (31%) say they trust the news media. Spain’s citizens have become more interested in politics in recent years. Even if the print media’s circulation is declining, the population’s growing access to the internet (with a penetration rate of approximately 85%) 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. 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 and have a large number of readers. There are also significant center-right to right-wing digital media sites such as, and Nevertheless, the country’s most widely read information websites are the electronic versions of print newspapers.

With regard to television, 55% to 60% of the market is controlled by two groups: the Italian company Mediaset (which includes the Telecinco and Cuatro channels) and the Atresmedia Corporación (which owns both the right-wing Antena 3 and the more leftist channel La Sexta). In addition, there is the public broadcaster Televisión Española (with a market share of about 15%), 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 (which belongs to the Catholic Church) and the publicly owned Radio Nacional de España.
Abril–Mayo (2018), Audiencia de Internet

Media Pluralism Monitor (2017), Monitoring Risks for Media Pluralism,

PEW Research Center(2018), News Media in Spain
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, in addition to the centrist CNN. There has been an unprecedented consolidation of ownership of local media outlets in recent years. Since 1995, the number of independent television-station owners has dropped by 40%, and the number of commercial radio stations by 36%. Just five big media corporations control nearly 75% of primetime viewing. Nevertheless, people in most places have access to at least six different national television news networks in addition to multiple radio stations and the vast array of internet sources. Because of declining readership, there has been a steady decline of competition in the print media; few cities today have more than one newspaper. The main challenge with respect to media pluralism is the decline in financial resources available for actual news gathering and reporting, as opposed to commentary.
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 inevitably also led to less critical reporting. Strict ownership rules are enforced on radio and television, with a threshold of 25% on capital share, disallowing cross-media conglomerates. However, very limited ownership data are publicly available. To assist print media companies that faced serious challenges, with some publications closed down, the government promoted in 2017 a scheme of de minimis financial grants.

The Cyprus problem remained a dominant subject also in 2018 and continued to also underpin polarized media positions on other issues. A glossary for the coverage of the Cyprus problem, compiled under the auspices of OSCE, produced very strong reactions from journalists. Other themes, including the Cooperative Bank default, instances of corruption in the public domain, explorations for hydrocarbons, and a crisis between the government and teachers unions, also made the headlines. Issues of social concern such as multiculturalism and the need for transparency and quality governance occupied less space in 2018 than in previous years. The absence of analytical reporting, combined with advocacy journalism remain major challenges and constrain pluralism in society.

The government and mainstream actors largely monopolized media access, limiting the spectrum of themes covered and the viewpoints expressed. A focus on partisan confrontations, polarization and blame games led to critical problems rarely being discussed in a meaningful manner.
1. Media Pluralism Monitor Cyprus, 2016
2. Our View: Journalists making absurd claims over glossary, Cyprus Mail, 7 August 2018,
The private media market in Czechia 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).

The rise of Andrej Babiš to power transformed the media landscape – both on the journalistic side (supply) and the readers (demand). Babiš’s businesses dominate the daily print media, with an estimated 2.4 million readers, and also the online media, with an estimated 3.4 million daily users. However, readership of independent weekly publications and a number of new journalistic projects has grown. On October 28, 2018 (centenary of the establishment of Czechia) and following the example of the Slovak Denik N (Journal N), a new daily (which will be available in print in 2019) was created using the Slovak know-how and combining investor- and crowd-sourced funding. Key journalists and staff own 23.5% of the shares. Most of the staff are experienced journalists, who left the MAFRA owned media. The crowd-funding campaign raised CZK 7 million (€270,000) and 5,500 digital subscribers. To ensure independent operation and a long-term viability, 25,000 regular subscribers are needed. Among the online media 2018 also brought the launch of Seznam TV, a major internet platform and email provider ventured into online media content including investigative journalism. During the first six months of its existence, the investigative journalists of Seznam TV found irregularities in party finance, lobbying and in November 2018 revealed potentially damning evidence on corruption in Babiš’s business activities.
Cichowlas, O., A. Foxall (2015): Now the Czechs have an oligarch problem, too, in: Foreign (š/).
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. 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 decline of Berlusconi’s political prominence, the influence of Mediaset may become less important.
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.

Despite the fact that the regulation of Latvia’s media is liberal and has allowed a diverse media system to develop, Latvia was evaluated as a showing medium risk of media pluralism under the Media Pluralism Monitor in 2017. This was due to issues such as media ownership transparency, media communication on the regional level and media access to people with disabilities.
1. Competition Council (2012), On the Merger of Market Participants, Available at (in Latvian):, Last assessed: 17.05.2013.

2. European University Institute, Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (2017) Country report: Latvia, Available at:, Last assessed: 04.01.2019
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. Five groups of media companies (Delfi, 15min, Lietuvos rytas, Verslo žinios and Alfa) dominate the media market. In addition, although state and municipal institutions cannot legally act as producers, the Druskininkai municipality finances a newspaper that is freely distributed to locals 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. According to Transparency International’s Vilnius office, about 25 Lithuanian politicians and civil servants have stakes in the country’s media companies. Ramūnas Karbauskis, the co-leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, recently sold his shares in the newspaper Ūkininko patarėjas. The population has a relatively low trust in media, with 37% of respondents indicating that they trust and 23% stating that they do not trust media, according to a December 2018 survey by Vilmorus.
See the 2007 Report of Transparency International (the Vilnius office) in public/2013/01/22/skaidresnes_zinia sklaidos_link.pdf
See information by the Journalists‘ and Publishers‘ Ethics Commission
All of Luxembourg’s daily newspapers have links to political parties. The Luxemburger Wort is owned by the Catholic Church and therefore has ties to the Christian Social People’s Party. The market share of the Luxemburger Wort fell to 29.5% in 2018.

The market share of L’Essentiel, the most successful of the free papers, recorded a share of 23.5% in 2018. L’Essentiel and Tageblatt (Luxembourg’s second-largest newspaper, with a market share of about 8.1%) are both published by Editpress, which has ties to the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party and the socialist trade union OGB-L.

In March 2018, an ambitious online newspaper project ( driven by several young journalists was launched. 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 the early 1990s that led to the creation of public broadcaster Radio 100.7. In 2018, RTL had the largest audience share (34%), much larger than Elodoradio (19.2%) that had the second largest audience share.

A lot of foreign media is consumed, especially on television. TF1 (France), and ARD and ZDF (Germany) reach more than 10% of the Luxembourg population.

The most important online media presence in Luxembourg is “,” which represents all political views and is impartial. Also widespread is the online presence of “Spiegel Online” from Germany.
Etude TNS ILRES PLURIMEDIA LUXEMBOURG 2018.II. 12.9.2018. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.

Des médias. Service information et presse du gouvernement luxembourgeois, 2013. Accessed 22 Oct 2018.

„Reporter: Über uns“. Accessed 22 Oct. 2018.
Portugal’s media market is competitive and relatively diversified. There are four free broadcast-television networks – one public (RTP, with four 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 also added to the roster of free channels.

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 held several print outlets, its flagship being the influential Expresso weekly. In January 2018, the Impresa group sold all its titles, except Expresso, to a new group, called Trust in News. This sale included the Visão weekly news magazine.

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, which has a classical liberal orientation (as set out in its editorial statutes).

This diversity results in a degree of pluralism. At the same time, most media outlets – notably newspapers – face considerable financial challenges.

These financial challenges contribute to the considerable volatility in media-ownership patterns, as evidenced by the sale of the Impresa titles.

The attempt by telecom and cable supplier Altice to take over the Media Capital group – which includes the TVI television channels, several radio stations and internet news services – this fell through in June 2018, with Altice dropping the offer after it was not approved the Competition Authority.
Observador, “Estatuto Editorial,” available online at:
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%). However, online access to news and entertainment has increased due to the prevalence of smartphones, widespread availability of wifi, and paid news and entertainment sources. Though the issue of ownership concentration also affects the social media and internet search engines. Internet usage rates in the Netherlands are high and many people are connected through broadband (almost 50% of Dutch households). Ten million Dutch residents use the internet on a regular basis, amounting to almost 95.5% of the population aged over six years old. For both print and digital media, users usually trust news reports and do not worry excessively about the issue of fake news, although a clear majority believe that technology and media companies ought to provide better information about and more opportunities for identifying fake news. The government also has a responsibility according to many internet users.

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

Media Pluralism Monitor 2017 – Results, Netherlands, October 2017 (, consulted 13 October 2017)

Mediamonitor 2018 -Reuters Institute Digital News Report Nederland 2018 (, accessed 25 October 2018)
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.
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. Most of the major print press groups, both Flemish and Francophone, are encountering severe financial difficulties as print sales continue to decline and web-based business models appear unable to sustain a broad pool of professional journalists.
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). This trend has accelerated with the of projected shutdown of several dozen local newspapers following a deal between two national newspaper corporations, Torstar and Postmedia Group.

A case can be made that the lack of competition in the industry 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. Although 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.
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. 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. Consequently, Síminn and Vodafone 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 largest newspaper after Fréttablaðið, has long been considered the voice of the Independence Party. Since 2009, its chief editor has been the former prime minister and leader of the Independence Party, Davíð Oddsson. Other newspapers include DV, Stundin and Kjarninn. Kjarninn is an online news site founded in 2013 by disgruntled journalists previously employed by Morgunblaðið and Fréttablaðið. The most recent development in the Icelandic media market has been the launch of the radio channel K100 by Árvakur hf., which owns and publishes Morgunblaðið.

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.
The pluralistic makeup of Israeli society is reflected in 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 ultra-Orthodox, Russian-speaking, and Arabic-speaking populations.

Israeli policy toward media pluralism is taking 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 oversees issues of content (specifically regarding issues of local production and censorship).

In practice, media regulation in Israel is largely structural, controlling ownership in media channels (radio, public and private television via cable or satellite). The regulators are charged with authorizing concessionaires, and enforcing regulation in matters of owners’ concentration, cross-ownership and foreign ownership. However, print media is not under the same restraints as the broadcast media and is dealt with through antitrust regulation or voluntary self-regulation. Most of the news websites in Israel are operated by print media companies. There are current attempts to expand the regulation to the digital sphere but no change has been legislated by parliament as of yet. According to Freedom House 2017 report, ownership concentration among private stations is still a growing concern.

Due to increasing public awareness about matters of government transparency in recent years, public interest concerning the ownership of media (e.g., TV, newspaper and news websites ownership) and the politicization of mainstream media has become more intense. Several reports exposed the ownership structure of the media market in Israel highlighting aspects of cross ownership, crony capitalism and centralization, and the influence this has on the coverage of topical political and economic issues.

A comprehensive map of media ownership – which tracks the identities of tycoons, corporations and other entities that hold key shares in 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. Recent years have brought trends of ideological and financial centralism along with governmental efforts to improve regulation and competition in the communication market. 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. Israel Hayom quickly gained power, capturing 40% of the market, thus raising concerns due to its partisan coverage and its negative effect on competing commercial newspapers.

In November 2017, after almost 25 years on the air, Channel 2’s two broadcasters (Keshet and Reshet) split and began airing on separate channels (channels 12 and 13 respectively), while Channel 10 moved to channel 14. Since the split took effect last year, all three commercial stations (Keshet, Reshet and Channel 10) sustained losses of millions and sometimes tens of millions of shekels per month, which will amount to more than ILS 200 million over the year. Recently a planned merger between Channel 10 and Reshet was canceled.
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)

“Freedom of the Press: Israel 2017,” Freedom House, 2017 

Media Ownership Map, The Seventh Eye website:

Halon, E, “Reshet pulls out of slated merger with Channel Ten,” 15.10.2018, Jerusalem Post:

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: (Hebrew)

Tucker, Nati, “Why did Shlom Ben Tzvi disappear?,” theMarker 3.10.2014: (Hebrew). 

Zrahiya, Zvi, “Israel’s media is riddled with alien interests,” 15.11.2011: nterests1.395639?localLinksEnabled =false

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. 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, new 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. Currently, the biggest online news source is Yahoo! Japan, which is increasing the amount of original content it produces. 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. A number of news sites have run into serious financial trouble, however. 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.
Alessia Cerantola, Investigative Journalism in Japan: Tough Times But Signs of Hope, Global Investigative Journalism Network, 6 July 2017,

Yasuomi Sawa, Japan Digital News Report 2018, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism,
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 has expanded the range of viewpoints presented, and has had few legal cases brought against it in recent years, a significant change. The state fulfills its obligations better now than in the past. However, competition for market share has forced privately owned and politically owned media alike to publish dissenting opinions more often. The 2017 report on media pluralism in Malta by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the European University Institute, assigned the country a medium score in terms of basic protection of journalists against violence. This score was primarily associated with the murder of a journalist (Daphne Caruana Galizia) in 2017. The report stated that, “The highest scoring risk indicators are: political independence of media, in particular of public service media; commercial and owner influence over editorial content; cross-media concentration of ownership; access to media for minorities and for people with disabilities; and media literacy. Editorial autonomy seems not to be well protected, either from political, or from commercial influences. However, media ownership is quite transparent.” Malta scored well in terms protecting the freedom of expression; yet here too, the country’s ranking fell, again primarily due to Caruana Galizia’s murder. The report 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 provided information free from political or commercial pressure.
Citations: s/view/20130428/opinion/Making-PBS- a-fit-national-entity.467423
http: // w/20130423/local/new-pbs-chairman-t hanks-the-pm.466622
http://www.tim 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
Media Pluralism in Malta, A Test Implementation of the Media Pluralism Monitor 2017
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.

Mexicans take full advantage of internet-based media, which have grown in both size and significance and offer a wide spectrum of information. In the 2018 elections, the left-wing candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, used social media as an alternative to mainstream media. The development of online media has done much to enhance pluralism through bypassing traditional, highly oligopolized media structures. On the other hand, however, internet-based media have also created new challenges. There are challenges regarding the journalistic quality of small and highly diverse media outlets. Moreover, there is evidence of news websites being hacked, and 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.
Latin American Regional Report: Mexico & NAFTA (February 2017). “Telecoms Reforms fail to impress sharp-eyed viewers.”
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 a limited number of politically well-connected 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. In 2018, however, Penta’s plans to purchase the media group Central European Media Enterprises (CME) together with the Chinese energy and investment group CEFC failed as CEFC went into some trouble. 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 would have bought CME, this would have further increased the concentration of the media in Slovakia. Penta’s plans prompted calls for strengthening the regulation of media cross ownership. However, Marek Maďarič, minister of culture in the three Fico governments and a prominent advocate of such a strengthening, resigned after the murder of Ján Kuciak and his initiative has not been taken up by the Pellegrini government.
Mediaguru (2018): Infografika: Přehled vlastníků slovenských médií (htpps://
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. While there is more pluralism in the broadcasting sector due to the mix of public and private media, the diversity of political opinions in this arena is threatened by government influence over broadcasters’ personnel policies. However, internet-based media such as podcasts and netcast programs have recently become very popular among younger people.

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.
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. (In Korean)
Freedom of the Press 2016,
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.
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?

A crucial question over the next few years will be how the governing majority will reform the ORF, still the most important media outlet in the country. The details of the reform are still unclear.
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 first administration of President Sebastián Piñera in 2010 (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. At the end of 2017, TVN was declared bankrupt. A bailout package to ensure the channels survival was approved by the Senate in January 2018. The government also decided to create a cultural channel as part of the TVN capitalization project.
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.
There are a large number of electronic and print media organizations, but the structure of ownership has become increasingly 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 Greek media landscape is shaped by media groups owned by magnates, shipowners and large contractors. However, the exact ownership structure of media outlets is concealed by holding companies and little-known entities listed in official records; 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 television, radio and social media channels.

The most dominant television channels (Antenna, Star and Skai) attract the majority of viewers, as they offer popular shows and infotainment. In the period under review, the owners of Star channel acquired the financially ailing Alpha TV, increasing their influence in the media sector. Owners of television channels also hold majority shares in national daily newspapers.

Between June and September 2016, the Syriza-ANEL government attempted to control the private media landscape by passing a law that would allow only four nationwide television channels to operate across the country. The law was eventually annulled in October 2016 by Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court (StE). At the end of 2017, the government was preparing to hold new auctions for television licenses under the auspices of the independent National Council for Radio and Television.

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 the coalition government failed to follow up on their pre-electoral promises.

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, even though the left/nationalist right coalition government’s attempt to constrain private media has failed, the overall oligopolistic nature of the media sector has probably changed for the worse.

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 television 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 television and radio programs. Small circulation newspapers attract readers by printing unsubstantiated accusations regarding politicians and businessmen. Regardless of their political profile, some marginal newspapers and even Syriza’s own official political party newspaper (I Avgi) do not refrain from publishing news which, at times, border on smear campaigns against political opponents.
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.

Index on Censorship Report on Greece 2017
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. Likewise, public gas stations and other enterprises have been urged not to sell particular newspapers.
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, a prominent 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 businessman who is believed to be politically well connected. Several prominent journalists were fired. As a result of these changes, sales of Delo newspaper dropped to the lowest level so far in late 2017 (26,884 issues sold daily). In response, FMR made the seasoned journalist and former editor-in-chief of news portal Uroš Urbas editor-in-chief of Delo, replacing Gregor Knafelc who had little journalistic experience. In August 2018, the publishers of Dnevnik and Večer, the second and the third largest daily newspapers in Slovenia, announced a merger, which has yet to be approved by the Ministry of Culture and the Competition Protection Agency.

In the electronic media, the U.S. media conglomerate, United Media received the green light from the Ministry of Culture in October 2017 and from Competition Protection Agency in early 2018 to take over Pro Plus, the operator of the largest commercial TV channels in Slovenia, POP TV and Kanal A. 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. There were some reports of additional investments from Hungarian companies in Nova24TV during the electoral campaign.
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.

The potential for greater concentration of media ownership increased following the passing in 2017 of amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. The amendments repeal two regulations that prevented 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. Following the passage of this legislation, in mid-2018 a merger was announced between Channel 9, one of the three commercial free-to-air television networks, and Fairfax Media, the second-largest newspaper proprietor and owner of various radio stations.
How the Fairfax takeover will further concentrate Australia’s media. The Guardian. 2 August 2018. Available at
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.

Events during 2018 indicate a structural weakness related to changes in media ownership in Bulgaria. One of the largest TV stations with a national license, Nova TV, was acquired by the Czech billionaire Petr Kelner. The transaction required the approval of the antitrust body in Bulgaria, which was denied. Most observers believe that the decision was politically motivated and catered to interests opposed to the completion of the transaction.
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. After some haggling, Nova TV was taken over by Slovenia Broadband, a subsidiary of United Media, in July 2018. While United Media had been forced by Croatia’s Electronic Media Council (AZTN) to sell its shares in Total TV, it also owns the N1 (cable) television and multimedia platform that has a growing audience in Croatia. The market for print media has likewise been dominated by a handful of companies.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s media market is only partly competitive. The national media market is dominated by a small number of mostly foreign companies (mainly from Australia), though there are two public television stations (Māori TV, TVNZ) and one national, commercial-free, public radio station called Radio New Zealand (RNZ). The combined audience reach of RNZ’s main programs showed an increase in three consecutive surveys and the latest survey showed a 12% share of the total radio audience in the country.
Sky TV monopolizes pay TV. 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 loss situation for democracy. In September 2018, the Court of Appeal also ruled against an NZME-Stuff merger, which brought that merger to a conclusion.
Bloggers have gained prominence as an alternative to traditional media offers. Some of them concern themselves with political affairs and receive high numbers of visitors. Despite this development, continued constraints on media funding help prevent a strong investigative reporting culture from developing.
With regard to print media, NZME and Stuff enjoy a duopoly control over the national print newspaper market. The combined marked share of the two companies was estimated at nearly 90% in 2016 (latest available data). Furthermore, 2017-2018 saw a substantial decline in the circulation of newspapers: 20% combined circulation loss for the four largest daily newspapers and 15 regionals. In 2018, Stuff closed more than 35% of its print newspapers and announced additional cuts in community papers. In contrast to the shrinking print newspaper market, the digital news market consolidated and expanded. In addition to digital sites of conventional newspapers, there are multiple independently owned digital media outlets which provide at least some news content. On a positive note, the ethnic media market continued to expand in 2018.
JMAD New Zealand Media Ownership Report 2017.
JMAD New Zealand Media Ownership Report 2018.
Edwards, Bryce. Political roundup: Congratulating and condemning media merger rejection. ( (accessed January 15, 2018).
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 the main political parties. The share of private media owners directly or indirectly involved in national and local politics has increased. Formally, private media are often owned by offshore companies or non-transparent investment funds.
Since the second Orbán government assumed office in 2010, media pluralism in Hungary has suffered 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. This process continued after the parliamentary elections in April 2018 when Lajos Simicska, an enigmatic oligarch who had fallen out with Orbán in 2015, left the country and dispensed with his media empire. He closed down the daily Magyár Nemzet, the radio station Lánchíd Radio and the weekly Heti Válasz, and sold the news channel Hír TV, the most popular rightwing-conservative TV station. There are still 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. It has been kept alive by government ads in order to serve as a fig leaf. The remaining independent weeklies (hvg, Magyar Narancs and 168 óra) address predominantly highly educated urban readers. The internet as a source of information away from state-influenced media has become more and more important. But even free information via the internet is increasingly under threat as bots seek to influence the discourse with fake news and defamation campaigns on behalf of the government.
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.
Free and independent media is one of the components of non-governmental checks on governmental power. The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index of 2017-2018 ranked Turkey 111th out of 113 countries with a score of 0.30, emphasizing the weakness of governmental accountability, including non-governmental checks on the government’s power, such as a free and independent
press. In addition to increasing restrictions on media freedom in Turkey, 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). On 21 March 2018, the fragility of independent journalism in Turkey was further shaken with the news that Dogan Media Company, one of the country’s leading media groups, had been sold to Demiroren Holding, a pro-government industrial conglomerate. Critics of the government – including media companies, businesspeople and political opponents – argued that this has had a negative effect on the overall business environment. This has sparked concern for media pluralism in Turkey. Most critical private media groups have been turned through opaque or coerced changes in ownership into pro-government trustees by means of the ruling party’s direct and indirect pressure.

Bianet Report found that media ownership lacks transparency and no information is available about the concentration of media ownership. The economic interests of media owners constitute 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. 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. 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.

In 2018, pro-government media outlets (e.g., Sabah and Ahaber, and public broadcaster TRT) polled lowest for public trust among people who were aware of them, whereas more critical media outlets (e.g., FOX, Cumhuriyet and Sözcü) polled highest.
European Commission, Turkey 2018 Report, Brussels, 17.4.2018, (accessed 1 November 2018).
Media Pluralism Monitor Results 2016, Turkey, (accessed 1 November 2017)
Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2017, (accessed 1 November 2018)
BİA Media Monitoring Report 2017: One Year of Journalists, Media, ear-of-journalists-media (accessed 1 November 2018)
“Turkish Media Group Bought by Pro-Government Conglomerate,”ğan-dogan.html?referer= (accessed 1 November 2018)

World Justice Project, 2017-2018 Rule of Law Index, (accessed 1 November 2018)
Bianet, Media Ownership Monitor in Turkey,!255aab01a0f9f22f09246334c9edbfe8 (accessed 1 November 2018)
S. Yanatma, Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018 Turkey Supplementary Report, (accessed 1 November 2018)
Bora Erdem, Avrupa Standartlarına Göre Türkiye’de Basın Özgürlüğü, Istanbul: Cinius Yayınları, 2017.
Ceren Sözeri, “Turkey’s Media Revival: Even in hostile conditions ethics and solidarity can work,” Trust in Ethical Journalism (ed. A White and C. Elliot), -Journalism.pdf (accessed 1 November 2018)
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