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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 as well as social media sites. 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 most recent Media Monitor Report pointed out that the high level of concentration in the Finnish media market constituted a high risk for media plurality. Although regional newspapers remain comparatively strong, most local newspapers have been assimilated into larger newspaper chains. Internet use is open and unrestricted, with 89% of the population using the internet, 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;
Manninen, Wille. “Monitoring Media Pluralism in Europe 2017. Country Report: 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. The dailies 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.
Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Media Development in Denmark. 2020. (
Although several national newspapers and TV channels exist in the country, media ownership is increasingly concentrated. In addition to Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR), there are two large private media companies owned by domestic investors (the Ekspress Group and the Eesti Meedia Group). These companies dominate the print and electronic media market. Print newspapers are struggling with decreasing readership figures and increasing expenses, which has resulted in some media outlets closing and other outlets moving to online only content. Several weeklies (e.g., the Teachers’ Gazette and the cultural weekly Sirp) receive government funds.

High internet and cable-TV penetration rates ensure that most of the population can still access a diverse range of media channels. All major newspapers provide content online and there are two major online only news portals. One of these is publicly funded and run by ERR, while the other, Delfi, is owned by the private Ekspress Group. All TV and radio channels offer an online presence. Another significant development has been the spread of independent blogs and portals, which provide in-depth stories and analysis that is less and less found in mainstream media. These online publications, such as Edasi (, and blogs, such as Levila, Poliitikaguru and Sharpminder, enjoy an increasing number of followers and enrich the existing media landscape. They are funded by subscription or are self-reliant for funding.
In Germany, the Interstate Treaty on the Modernization of Media (Medienstaatsvertrag, MStV) defines the threshold at which a television broadcaster has achieved the dominant power of influence to be an annual average audience share of 30% (MStV, Sec. III, § 60). The Federal Cartel Office regulates most issues regarding oligopolies and monopolies 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 broadcast media research group Arbeitsgemeinschaft Fernsehforschung (AGF), in the television market, public broadcasters held a market share of 47% in 2021. In the private sector, the RTL Group held a 17.4% market share, while the ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG accounted for 9% of the total television market for the same year. Private broadcasters’ market shares have fallen as they are increasingly crowded out by streaming providers.

TV is the most commonly used media (92%), followed by radio (94%) and the internet (83%). Daily audiovisual media use increased significantly during the pandemic, reaching an average 9 hours and 43 minutes, which is 40 minutes more than that recorded in 2019 (Vaunet 2021).

The nationwide print media market is dominated by five leading daily newspapers: the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt, Handelsblatt and the tabloid daily Bild. Bild has by far the biggest circulation in Germany but its circulation numbers are falling steeply. Additional agenda-setters are a number of weeklies, in particular Der Spiegel, Focus, Die Zeit and Stern. However, the latent economic crisis being experienced by newspapers and publishing houses may slowly but steadily undermine media pluralism. Between 1995 and 2020, daily newspaper circulation has been more than halved (Statista 2021).

The internet has become an increasingly important medium through which citizens access and collect information. This has forced the print media to cut costs significantly, which includes reducing editorial staff size.
In short, Germany continues to benefit from a comparatively pluralistic and diversified media ownership structure and somewhat decentralized television and radio markets.
AGF (2022): Jahresmarktanteile, Top 30 Sender: 2021, (accessed: 13 January 2022).

Statista (2021): Auflagenstruktur der Tageszeitungen in Deutschland im 3. Quartal 2021, (accessed: 13 January 2022).

Vaunet (2021): Mediennutzung 2020: über neuneinhalb Stunden audiovisuelle Mediennutzung pro Tag, (accessed: 13 January 2022).
The media in Sweden operate independently of the government. This is not to say that the government is wholly inactive in the media sector, however. Government institutions offer financial support to newspapers (typically smaller newspapers) and also to magazines. The media market in Sweden has expanded considerably over the past couple of decades. Today, the public SR and SVT radio and television broadcasters face significant competition from privately owned and managed radio and television channels. The public television and radio stations have been tax-funded since 2019, when the license fee funding scheme was phased out.

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. Sweden remains at the top in the overall Inclusive Internet Index, which was commissioned by Facebook and developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit ( The index is a construct of availability, affordability, relevance, and readiness of internet services and infrastructures.
The Economist Intelligence Unit. 2021. “The Inclusive Internet Index.”
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 (similar publications exist in the French-speaking part of Switzerland). These newspapers have crowded out the readership of traditional newspapers which are collectively suffered from a decline in subscriptions. The number of independent newspapers has also been on the decline as media concentration continues. In parallel, online media consumption is outgrowing print media consumption.

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.

In February 2022, a referendum rejected a bill to increase and expand public subsidies for media, which aimed to ensure broad coverage of various media across the country. This represents a threat to smaller, regional media channels, as well as for the pluralism of media and media ownership in Switzerland.
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 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.

Notably, compared to equivalent outlets in the United Kingdom, Irish newspapers do not tend to have explicit political affiliations and tend not, for example, to support parties or candidates at election time.

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 complaints about the influence and power of the Independent News and Media Group (INM), an Irish-based multinational media company that owns the largest-circulation national titles. 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 allegations 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, RTÉ 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 Parliament elections and (c) first-preference votes in the 2009 local government elections.

The Electoral Reform Bill 2021 proposes to regulate online political advertising (Lynch, 2021). The proposals build on the Online Advertising and Social Media (Transparency) Bill (2017), and on the findings of the Interdepartmental Group on the Security of Ireland’s Electoral Process and Disinformation report (Gov 2019),
Gov (2019) Interdepartmental Group on Security of Ireland’s Electoral Process and Disinformation, Government of Ireland Progress Report, available at:

Lynch, C. (2021) The regulation of online political advertising Evaluating the Government’s proposals, Houses of the Oireachtas Library and Research Service, 04 February, available at:

Rafter, K. (2018), ‘The Media and Politics,’ in Politics in the Republic of Ireland (6th edition, Routledge).
In terms of audience ratings, the state-owned Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) dominates in TV, radio and, increasingly, digital platforms. There is a great number of private, commercial TV and radio channels, many of them based in, and sending from, other countries. A special body called the Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet) is responsible for monitoring and regulating the market, although foreign actors cannot be controlled.

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., bans on commercial for alcohol, tobacco, gambling and political statements).

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 to date not 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 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 across the entire country.

Increasingly, international companies such as Facebook and Google, have gained a huge share of the advertising market, and this has triggered a renewed debate about the role of monopolies in media.
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 with which to gather news. 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. A mere five major media corporations control nearly 75% of primetime viewing. Nevertheless, people in most places have access to at least six different national television news networks, several local tv-shows in addition to multiple radio stations and the vast array of internet sources. The American media landscape offers a great deal of pluralism if and when people actually choose to consume it.
Because of declining readership, there has been a steady decline of competition in the print media; few major 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.
The legacy media landscape is shrinking while digital media proliferates in an unregulated environment. Media companies are extending their hold over the press, and the broadcasting (mainly radio) and online sectors. Dependency on financial interests has increased. This is evident in media content that is less critical about or lacks any reporting on specific businesses or interests. Despite strict radio and television ownership rules, which disallow cross-media conglomerates, deficient regulation and enforcement do not attract scrutiny.

Media outlets, among other businesses, benefited from state grants and subsidies during the COVID-19 crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis dominated news reporting. While corruption and migration occupied ample media space, mainstream media defined their coverage in terms of the Cyprus Problem to “defend Cyprus against threats.” Corruption linked to selling passports and the crisis with Turkey, connected to exploration for hydrocarbons, made the headlines. The influx of undocumented migrants also made the news, with frequent interventions from state officials, which were often loaded with racist rhetoric and endorsed by the media. The absence of quality reporting and the lack of a watchdog are major problems that constrain pluralism.

Publicity of the Recovery and Resilience Plan offered the government ample coverage. Along with other mainstream actors, state officials largely monopolized media access. With parliamentary elections held in May, public focus was on partisan confrontations and blame games, which left little space for meaningful public debate.
1. Media Pluralism Monitor Cyprus, 2021
2. Andrew Rosenbaum, Qatar, Al Jazeera, Turkey: a network against Cyprus, Cyprus Mail, 25 August 2020,
3. Cyprus must rethink asylum policies, says MP, Financial Mirror, 24 September 2021,
Media pluralism in Czechia has benefited from a relatively independent public media. However, the private media market has suffered from a concentration of media ownership, the departure of several international owners and the broadening of the scope of media holdings (print, online, radio and television). Babiš’s business, MAFRA, dominates the daily print media, with an estimated 3.2 million readers, and the country’s online media, with an estimated 3.3 million daily users. It benefited disproportionately from pandemic-related state aid for cultural institutions (Kottova 2020). A major change in media ownership was the purchase in October 2020 of the Central European Media Enterprises (CME), an international media and entertainment company, by the PPF Group owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner. CME owns television stations in five countries in East-Central Europe (Bulgaria, Czechia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia). In contrast to Babiš’s outlets, there have been no reports of political interference in news reporting. Kellner died in a helicopter crash in Alaska in March 2021, leaving the future uncertain.
Kottova, A. (2020): Babišova vláda chystá pomoc médiím. ‚Záleží na rozpočtu, teď nemůžeme rozdávat nic,‘ říká Zaorálek (Babiš government preparing aid for the media. ‘It depends on the budget, now we cannot give away anything’ says Zaoralek). in: iRozhlas, June 23 ( onavirus-podpora-media-ministerstvo -kultury-zaoralek-babis-mafra _2006231300_ako).
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 three or four 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 fully counterbalance its influence. One large television company, Mediaset, continues to exercise significant influence over electoral campaigns, but with the decline of Berlusconi’s political prominence, the influence of Mediaset has become less important.
Media ownership is diverse in Latvia. Print media is privately owned, while broadcast media has a mix of public and private ownership. In the last decade, market pressures have created some consolidation in the market, leading to concerns about pluralism. Newspapers and magazines provide a diverse range of views, but ownership structures are in some cases opaque. Internet news portals (Delfi, TVNet, and Public Broadcasting of Latvia platform) have replaced print newspapers as the primary source of news.

According to the NPLP and the Media Pluralism Report (2021), media consumption in Latvia is largely determined by ethnic group and/or geographical factors – that is, Latvian speakers generally trust and use Latvian media, whereas Russian speakers choose Russian-language media, often preferring TV channels controlled by the Russian government.

Even though the regulation of Latvia’s media is liberal and has allowed a diverse media system to develop, Latvia was evaluated as showing a medium to high risk to media pluralism in many of the categories addressed by the Media Pluralism Monitor in 2021. In particular, a high level of risk is observed with regard to market plurality (75%) due to increasing news media and online platform concentration, with the highest increase in concentration coming in the digital news field. The area of social inclusiveness indicates a medium overall risk of 47% due to difficulties in accessing media in some regional communities, comparatively more limited access for women, and a high level of risk with regard to the development of media literacy.
1. Rozukalne A. (2021) Monitoring Media Pluralism in the Digital Era: Latvia Country Report, Available at:, Last accessed: 10.01.2022.

2. Rožukalne, A.(2017) Country report: Latvia, European University Institute, Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom, Available at:, Last accessed: 10.01.2022.
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 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; however, these media companies have continued to show serious, regular violations of professional ethics, without being penalized. 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, sold his shares in the newspaper Ūkininko patarėjas. In its 2020 report, Freedom House noted growing risks to media freedom due to increasing ownership concentration, which often leads to self-censorship on the part of journalists and editors. Furthermore, the group pointed out the detrimental effects of the pandemic’s economic effects, as well as the danger of potential restrictions on media freedom due to “a vaguely worded law restricting the dissemination of information that ‘abases family values.’” Freedom House consequently lowered Lithuania’s score on the freedom of expression and belief.

The population shows relatively low levels of trust in the media, with only 25% of respondents indicating that they trust media organizations, and 34% stating that they do not, according to a December 2021 survey by Vilmorus. This represented a significant deterioration since 2019.
See information by the Journalists‘ and Publishers‘ Ethics Commission

Vilmorus survey:,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=2&cntnt01returnid=20

Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2021, Lithuania, file:///C:/Users/Vytautas/Desktop/SGI/Lithuania_%20Freedom%20in%20the%20World%202021%20Country%20Report%20_%20Freedom%20House.pdf
The media landscape in Luxembourg is multilingual, multimedia and surprisingly rich given the size of the country and the population. Newspapers and certain online media organizations receive direct and indirect subsidies, in order to make possible a degree of pluralism of the press. The print sector includes five daily newspapers and a number of weekly and/or monthly magazines. There are about seven private radio stations with national coverage, as well as Radio 100,7, which is a public service broadcaster. RTL is Europe’s most important private radio and television broadcaster, and the audiovisual sector is dominated by the group CLT-UFA. RTL Radio Télé Luxembourg carries out a public service mission in exchange for public subsidies. Luxembourg’s media market is regulated by the Independent Luxembourg Broadcasting Authority (ALIA).

The country’s media landscape facilitates the expression of diverse political points of view: conservative, liberal, socialist and communist. Many of Luxembourg’s daily newspapers have links to political parties.

Luxemburger Wort (the country’s largest daily newspaper) is owned by the Saint-Paul group (under the aegis of the Catholic Church), and therefore has had ties to the Christian Social People’s Party. However, in April 2021, the Belgian conglomerate Mediahuis purchased the Saint-Paul group, and has since given priority to more online coverage. Thus, 70 employees (or 20% of the staff of Luxemburger Wort) have lost their jobs, a move criticized by analysts as potentially weakening the country’s media environment.

In 2021, print and digital media were used on a daily basis by 217,000 residents (41.3% of the Luxembourg total population). The market share of L’Essentiel, the most successful of the free papers, had a market share of 29.9% (or 157,000 readers per day) in 2021. Luxemburger Wort (paper and digital) was read by 149,200 persons (28.4% of the population). L’Essentiel and Tageblatt (Luxembourg’s second-largest newspaper, with a market share of about 7.8%) are both published by Editpress, which is jointly owned by the socialist trade union OGBL and the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party.

In 2021, RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg had no domestic competitors in the television market (with a market share of 22.6%), and remains well ahead in the radio market, despite the market’s liberalization in the early 1990s and the creation of the public broadcaster Radio 100,7 in 1993. RTL radio reaches the largest audience share (35%), while L’Essentiel Radio was the most listened-to radio service among foreign residents (20.8% daily coverage and 38.2% weekly coverage).

A considerable amount 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 RTL’s website, which represents all political views and is nonpartisan (217,000 readers per day, or 41.4%).

According to Media Pluralism Monitor 2020, women have less access to the media than do men (risk rating 81%). There are few women in key positions in the sector, and the Luxembourg public media service does not have a gender equality policy. Furthermore, women experts serve as invited guests on media programs less often do their male counterparts.

Another sensitive issue concentration and competition enforcement among online platforms (risk rating of 96%). The indicator addressing transparency of media ownership scores a medium level of risk (50%), as does the indicator measuring protection of the right to information (45%).

The media is independent of the government, but a wide range of mass media receive public subsidies. The press was particularly affected by the coronavirus crisis, and was therefore given a specific aid program by the government with the aim of “improving the quality of journalism and guaranteeing the pluralism of multilingual media.” A new law on subsidies to the press, covering both online media and written press, was adopted on 8 July 2021. Grants are composed of a fixed amount (€200,000) and a variable amount (€30,000 per professional full-time journalist). This aid is also open to monthly publications, the free press, “citizen media,” “emerging publishers” and startups in the sector.
“Journalists association issues appeal following death threats “. RTL Today (07 January 2022). Accessed 14 January 2022.

“2021 World Press Freedom Index.” Reporters Without Borders Report. (2021). information-blocked-more-130-countries. Accessed 14 January 2022.

“Financial support for professional journalism.” The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. (8 July 2021). Accessed on 14 January 2021.

” TNS-ILRES Plurimedia 2021-I.” Edita SA (21 June 2021). -232-000-personnes-par-jour-au-luxembourg/. Accessed 14 January 2022.

Kies, Raphaël; Hamdi, Mohamed. “Media Pluralism Monitor 2020 – Monitoring Media Pluralism in the Digital Era. Coutry Report: Luxembourg.” Cenre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom. Research Project Report. Issue 2827. July 2021. pf.pdf?sequence=1. Accessed 14 January 2021.

“L’audience des médias luxembourgeois à la loupe.” Luxemburger Wort (12 May 2021). e-609bca80de135b923600aeb4. Accessed 14 January 2022.

Règlement du Gouvernement en Conseil du 11 mars 2020 concernant le régime de promotion
transitoire du journalisme en ligne. Accessed on 14 January 2022.
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, have diversified since 2009 and there are now at least four major players: RTP, SIC, TVI and CMTV.

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 newspaper, which became weekly in mid-2018). 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 (renamed as Nascer do Sol in December 2020) 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. A new weekly newspaper called Novo was launched by Lapanews in April 2021.

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.
Observador, “Estatuto Editorial,” available online at:
The constitution provides for freedom of expression without censorship, as well as the right to information. According to this, the media environment is pluralistic with a variety of public and private television and radio stations, newspapers, and internet portals. However, the market is dominated by only three media groups. The CMPF has warned that this concentration put media pluralism at risk in the future. The concentration of the advertising market of two large television operators – Mediaset and Altresmedia – has been confirmed via a sanction issued by the CNMC in November 2019

In 2020, the average daily consumption of media exceeded eight hours in Spain, reaching the highest figure in the last two decades. This is probably due to the change in citizens’ habits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. TV viewing rates reached an all-time high during the first week of lockdown in March. However, Netflix, HBO and Movistar+ were the big winners during this period.

The widespread use of social networks has 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, y 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 the Italian company Mediaset (which includes the Telecinco and Cuatro channels), the Atresmedia Corporación (which owns both the right-wing Antena 3 and the more leftist channel La Sexta), and 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.
Asociación para la Investigación de Medios de Comunicación (2021), Audiencia de Internet

Universidad de Navarra (2021), Digital News Report

European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, García Castillejo, Á., Suau, J., Masip, P., et al., Monitoring Media Pluralism in the Digital Era: Application of the Media Pluralism Monitor in the European Union, Albania and Turkey in the years 2018-2019. Country report: Spain, European University Institute, 2020,
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.

In 2020 and 2021, the government attempted to appoint the former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre as head of the media regulator Ofcom by repeating the interview rather than appointing one of the other candidates. There were accusations of the government manipulating the process in his favor and eventually Dacre withdrew his candidacy in November 2021.
Relatively few entities 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 opinions, 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 (Bell, Rogers, Quebecor) dominating the mainstream print and electronic media. There is a particularly strong media concentration in some parts of the country (e.g., the Irving newspapers in New Brunswick). This trend has accelerated with the shutdown of several dozen local newspapers following a deal between two national newspaper corporations, Torstar and Postmedia Group, in 2017.

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 generally express a centrist to center-right political orientation but some (such as the Globe and Mail and La Presse) make an effort to bring in left-wing perspectives in order to provide a balanced coverage of issues. Of course, the influence of mainstream newspapers has waned considerably in the last decade or so in favor of online sources of information and social media, where Canadians can find a great diversity of opinions and political perspectives. The public media (television and radio) generally presents a good diversity of political opinions and analysis.
Media ownership in Iceland can be divided into three blocks, 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 four private national TV channels (Stöð2, Sjónvarp Símans, 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 had clear connections to a business magnate and former bank owner, who sold his media holdings to another magnate in 2019.

Owners of private media sometimes try to exercise influence over news coverage. Iceland’s second largest daily newspaper is partly owned by fishing magnates, and fights against fisheries policy reforms as well as Iceland’s application for EU membership.

Morgunblaðið, the second largest newspaper, has long been considered the voice of the Independence Party and is owned primarily by several fishing vessel owners. Since 2009, its chief editor has been the former prime minister and Independence Party leader. Other newspapers include DV, Stundin, and Kjarninn.

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.
Israeli policy toward media pluralism is taking a “multivalued approach,” in the sense that an open media field is viewed as part of the democratic order and is thus valued not only for economic but for normative purposes as well. This view justifies utilizing special regulatory tools (as opposed to exclusive antitrust regulation) in order to prevent the 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 of media outlets (radio, and public and private cable and satellite television). The regulators authorize concessionaires and enforce regulation in matters of ownership concentration, cross-ownership and foreign ownership. However, print media is not under the same restraints as broadcast media, and is regulated by antitrust legislation and voluntary self-regulation. Most news websites in Israel are operated by print media companies. There are ongoing efforts to expand regulation to the digital sphere, but no change has been legislated by parliament as of yet.
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)

Boker, Ran. “Channel Ten will be closed: The merger of Reshet and Channel Ten was approved,” 8.8.2018 (Hebrew):,7340,L-5324863,00.html

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

Media Ownership Map, The Seventh Eye website:

Halon, E, “Reshet pulls out of a 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 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, 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, and the traditional media have begun using digital channels more actively as well. 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 in major media organizations may have intensified the move toward greater use of independent media channels, also opening some new potential for independent investigative journalism. However, such channels tend to cater to their specific audiences. Thus, 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 significant 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,

Yasuomi Sawa, Digital News Report 2019 Japan, 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, including political parties, the Catholic Church, private entrepreneurs, the General Workers’ Union (GWU), a major left-leaning trade union and increasingly by civil society groups. Thus, Malta’s media landscape reflects a plurality of ownership. Pluralism of opinion within the media depends entirely on editorial discretion, although the broadcasting authority and the courts may impose rights of reply when this is deemed necessary. Malta is one of the few countries with legislation defining a right of reply. 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 2021 report on media pluralism in Malta by the Center for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the European University Institute, assigned the country a medium score (35%) in terms of basic protection of journalists against violence. The score remains unchanged from previous reports. As in the previous MPM report, Malta continues to receive an overall high risk score in the area of market plurality, with three indicators clearly hitting the high-risk band (news media concentration, online platforms concentration and competition enforcement, and media viability). The news media concentration indicator also received a high-risk score of 89%, nine percentage points up from the MPM 2020 (80%). Media legislation, namely the Broadcasting Act, contains specific limitations to prevent a high degree of horizontal concentration of ownership in the audiovisual media sector. However, the report alleges that there is a worrying lack of data pertaining to the market share of individual news outlets. The online platforms concentration and competition enforcement indicator also received a high-risk score of 83% due to a lack of available data with regards to advertising revenue and audience concentration, as well as a lack of specific regulation for the market. As per the MPM2020, political independence received a high-risk score, with three indicators being rated high risk (political independence of media, editorial autonomy, and the independence of PSM governance and funding). There is no law that makes government office incompatible with media ownership, and political parties own, control or are editorially responsible for nationwide television and radio services. However, media ownership is quite transparent and Malta scored well in terms of freedom of expression. In a 2019 Eurobarometer survey, respondents in Malta reported low trust in the media, with only 30% saying Maltese media provided trustworthy information. Some 85% of respondents said they came across fake news and only 12% believed that the media provided information free from political or commercial pressure. Moreover, only 12% believed that the public service media was free from political pressure compared to 39% in the European Union.
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
Malta today 31/12/2019 One TV Chairman Jason Micallef opposes scrapping political party media
Media Pluralism in Malta, A Test Implementation of the Media Pluralism Monitor 2021
Times of Malta 28/02/20 Maltese trust in democracy plummeted last November – Eurobarometer
Standard Eurobarometer 92 public opinion in the European Union Malta Autumn 2019
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. Two corporations, Televisa and TV Azteca, dominate more than 90% of the TV market. Regulators, like the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), are essentially toothless.
As is the case in other East-Central European countries, Slovakia has experienced a passing of private media ownership from foreign owners to domestic owners that lack transparency. A large number of media outlets are now directly or indirectly controlled by a limited number of politically well-connected Slovak financial groups. In 2021, there have been two promising developments. First, Penta, the biggest of these groups, sold its 34%-stock of Petit Press which owes the most influential non-tabloid newspaper “Sme.” The new owner, the U.S.-based Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), is a not-for-profit investment fund for independent media active in countries where access to independent media is under threat. It provides loan and equity financing to media companies that play an important role in maintaining freedom of speech in their home countries. MDIF already provided the loan to Petit Press in 1990s – when it was harassed by the Mečiar government. Second, the new center-right government has started to prepare new media legislation aimed at making media ownership more transparent. A publicly accessible register of all media outlets would be created, identifying not just the owners of any media outlet but also the so-called ultimate beneficial owner of that particular media outlet, that is, the person or entity that is the ultimate beneficiary when an institution initiates a transaction. In addition, the new government plans to install a new regulatory body supervising market shares and enforcing a maximum market share of 60%.
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 either Korean or 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. In general, media pluralism is hampered by a widespread belief that criticism and critical questions are necessarily negative. In May 2019, KBS journalist Song Hyun-jung was threatened by supporters of President Moon who claimed that he had been rude while interviewing the president. They claimed that Song’s questions were “inappropriate,” and a petition was started to demand an apology from or even punishment of Song and KBS. Beyond the traditional media, internet-based news services are widespread and very diverse. The reach of these alternative media outlets is potentially quite large, as Korea’s social media penetration rate (87%) is the third-highest in the world.
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,
Kang, Tae-jun. 2019. “South Korean Journalist Under Fire for Being ‘Rude’ to President Moon.” The Diplomat, May 11. Retrieved from
Shim, Woo-hyun. “Korea’s Social Media Penetration Rate Ranks Third in World.” The Korea Herald, September 7, 2020.
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. Nevertheless, there is also an increasing sense of news fatigue among younger citizens in particular, many of whom are increasingly avoiding the news.

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 Wi-Fi, 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 2020, the Netherlands was characterized as being low risk in the domains of basic protection, political independence and social inclusiveness (especially the use of sign language for the deaf). However, the country was characterized as being medium risk in the area of market plurality, especially media viability. In 2020, even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the share of Dutch people who paid for online news increased from 11% in 2019 to 14% in 2020. The lockdown led to a temporary increase of the reach of television, radio and news media. At the same time, revenues decreased due to lower incomes from advertisements. There is also 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.

In 2020, a substantial reduction of media pluralism took place. With the acquisition of Sanoma by DPG Media – the owner of newspapers such as AD and De Volkskrant, along with a large number of regional papers – the commercial media market is now dominated by only two publishers, both Belgian. Next to DPG Media, Mediahuis, who own the newspapers De Telegraaf and NRC also increased concentration by acquiring the NDC mediagroep. The Netherlands has thus entered a level of media ownership concentration that raises important questions with regard to media pluralism.
P. Bakker, 30 jaar kranten in Nederland: consolidatie en monopolievorming, in, consulted 5 November 2014

EUI/Robert Schumann Center, Media Pluralism Index 2020, Klein, June 2021. Country Report: The Netherlands
Media Pluralism Monitor 2017 – Results, Netherlands, October 2017 (, consulted 13 October 2017)

Irene Costera Meijer and Tim Groot Kormelink, The Netherlands in Reuters Institute
Digital News Report 2021.
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.
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.

A positive development in 2021 was the government’s success in implementing a news media mandatory bargaining code that requires digital platforms – especially Google and Facebook – to pay news media companies for content they link to or display. This, in principle, helps to promote media plurality by increasing the viability of a broader number of news media outlets. However, there has been criticism that the code does little for small and regional news media operators. The value of payments from Google and Facebook under the code is not known because the agreements are “commercial in-confidence.”
How the Fairfax takeover will further concentrate Australia’s media. The Guardian. 2 August 2018. Available at
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 continues to be fairly concentrated, with one single daily paper, the tabloid paper Kronenzeitung (Die Krone), accounting for a 23.9% market share in 2021 (down from more than 40% in 2009). The second and third largest shares are held by Heute, a free newspaper (8.8%), and Der Standard, a high-quality newspaper (7.3%). The Krone carries particular 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 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. Again, the small size of the Austrian media market is largely responsible for this.

According to data gathered for and published by the Media Pluralism Monitor 2021, media pluralism in Austria is at medium risk in all but one of the areas investigated (i.e., market plurality, political independence and social inclusiveness) and one area (fundamental protection) shows a low risk. According to the same source, risks to media pluralism in Austria are primarily due to horizontal and cross-media concentration, a lack of sufficient reflection on the changes in the media landscape in the competition law, threats to the independence of PSM governance and funding, endangered editorial autonomy, some shortcomings in provisions on the transparency of media ownership, limited access to media for women and minorities, the lack of a policy (or resources) to promote media literacy, and a system of state subsidies.

Ownership structure of Austrian print-media:
In general terms, the high concentration of media ownership in Chile notoriously limits democratic pluralistic 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. A similar pattern is evident in the public-television sector, but on the whole, the digital sector offers a more diversified scope of opinion (especially on local radio stations and in a few online publications). All in all, 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.
Reporters Without Borders, World Press Freedom Index 2021,, last accessed: 13 January 2022.

Centro de Investigación Periodística (CIPER), “Crisis de la libertad de expresión en Chile”, 3 May 2021,, last accessed: 13 January 2022.
Media pluralism is reasonably guaranteed in France.
Public media are supervised by an independent authority, with their ranks including several national TV networks and radios. They enjoyed monopoly status until the mid-1980s, when the Mitterrand government authorized the creation of private radio broadcast services. Today, the supply has considerably increased and since the market is shrinking (young people prefer the internet), the public services are declining but remain strong.
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 high-quality national newspapers belong to various capitalist groups. Among the few exceptions are a regional newspaper in the western part of France and the daily newspaper La Croix. Most of the newspapers belonging to media groups have secured a substantial degree of independence from their owners (complete in the case of Le Monde where the journalists are the de facto masters of the newspaper). Weekly papers belong to diverse groups (none is the property of the same group).
Local/regional newspapers belong to various local or national groups. Some are very independent (e.g., Ouest-France, the main daily in France), while others are more dependent on their owners, often a family group. Newspapers linked to political parties have practically disappeared from the scene, and their influence is marginal. The debate on press concentration has emerged due to the absorption of the Lagardère Group (Europe 1, Journal du Dimanche, Paris-Match) by a tycoon (Bolloré) who owns Canal+ and CNews (accused of having offered Zemmour a forum.
The print circulation of the country’s daily newspapers is low by Western standards, and has been negatively affected by free newspapers distributed in the streets, as well as by online publications. Indeed, the print market is largely in decline, and is suffering 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 being put in jeopardy due to the costs and general dysfunctionality 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 provided either by print media or by “pure players” (like Mediapart, Rue89, Slate and Atlantico) should be taken into 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 112 analog private TV stations with a national, regional or local license. There are also approximately 1,000 regional/local radio stations, approximately 1,500 news websites, and at least 10 daily and Sunday newspapers of national circulation.

While there are several pro-government Athens-based daily newspapers, there are some which are very critical of the government. The same holds for news websites with the majority of them being pro-government. However, there are some which are clearly and consistently influenced by the opposition.

However, this multitude of media sources conceals a much less pluralistic structure. Today in Greece, there are eight large press groups, which own the most popular and influential print and digital media. More concretely, the Greek media landscape is shaped by media groups controlled by business magnates, ship owners 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 control the largest private television, radio and social media channels. For example, the tycoon who owns Greece’s richest soccer team (Olympiacos), and has business interests in shipping and other sectors also owns two of the oldest Athenian newspapers (“To Vima” and “Ta Nea”), which enjoy large national circulation, and two TV channels (“One” and “Mega”).

The TV landscape is dominated by three private television channels (Antenna, Star and Skai), which offer popular shows and infotainment, and attract the majority of viewers.

Electronic media is also flourishing in the form of websites and blogs. There are an unknown number of anti-establishment electronic media, which – in the period under review – were followed by supporters of the anti-vaccination movement.

While Greece lacks an effective anti-monopoly policy for the media industry, media outlets do report a wide range of opinions. In fact, the media reports a wider range of opinions than in the previous decade. The government voices its opinions through the state-owned television broadcaster (ERT), and friendly newspapers and radio stations. The ERT also regularly broadcasts the views of the opposition, not only in news programs but also in shows of analysis and political debates. The opposition has a voice in the private media too, as political party leaders often participate 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 do not refrain from publishing news which, at times, borders on smear campaigns against political opponents. The tendency to print or broadcast unsubstantiated information was probably accentuated in 2020 and 2021, when sensationalist media adopted an anti-vaccination stance.
On the oligopolistic structure of Greek Media and data on websites and blogs, see Papathanassopoulos S. et al (2021), “Greece: Media concentration and independent journalism between austerity and digital disruption,” available at
Poland’s media market is one of the largest in Europe, offering a diverse mix of public and private media organizations and still reflecting a broad spectrum of political opinions. While the public TV station TVP and its four channels claim a large, though declining share of the market, and local authorities often publish newspapers and magazines, most Polish print media and radio are privately owned. Compared to other countries in East-Central Europe, Poland’s media-ownership structures are relatively transparent, diversified and still characterized by substantial foreign ownership. For a long time, there have been no “media moguls” in the market who use their ownership positions to further a political agenda.

Media pluralism suffered a blow in late 2020 when the state-owned oil company PKN Orlen, led by Daniel Obajtek, a close ally of Jarosław Kaczyński, bought Polska Press for €27 million from the German Verlagsgruppe Passau. The deal included 140 local and regional newspapers, and 500 internet portals with 17.4 million users. It followed an earlier acquisition of PKN Orlen, which had already brought the company control over the news agency business Ruch with its nationwide kiosks. In April 2021, the approval of the purchase of Polska Press by the Polish competition authority, UOKiK, was suspended by the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection. However, PKN Orlen has continued the restructuring of the media conglomerate and has not awaited the court’s still pending final decision. A further decline in media pluralism was prevented by President Duda vetoing government attempts to force the U.S. media conglomerate Discovery to give up control over TVN, the largest private broadcaster, or risk losing its broadcasting license. On a positive note, in January 2022, the Dutch investment group Pluralis BV in which George Soros holds around 17% bought 40% of the Polish publisher Gremi Media for PLN 97 million (€21.4 million). Their leading titles are Rzeczpospolita, Poland’s second-largest non-tabloid daily, and Parkiet, a business and finance newspaper.
Klimkiewicz, B. (2022): Orlen’s Takeover of Polska Press: Media Market and Pluralism Issues Are Intertwined. Florence: EUI, Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (
Media pluralism in Bulgaria is supported by a 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, allowing for hidden interests to operate. That said, at least one well-known de facto owner of print media (Delyan Peevski) has made his ownership official. Pluralism of opinions is greater in the radio and print media than in the TV sector.

In 2021, Mr. Peevski was sanctioned by the U.S. government under the so-called Magnitski Act. Even the media outlets that he effectively owns have made modes attempts to live up to higher standards.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further eroded the financial resources of media, forcing several smaller and regional outlets to shut down. Different media, from TV, radio, new papers and internet outlets, have their own political preferences but the diversity of opinion as well as the respect of facts media and ethics seem to have improved since the ousting of the GERB-led governments in 2021. Public radio and TV outlets have led the way toward facilitating a pluralism of opinions after years of tacit but harsh pressure from the government and politicians.
European Commission: 2021 Rule of Law Report. Country Chapter on the rule of law situation in Bulgaria, Brussels 20.7.2021 SWD(2021) 703 final
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.
In October 2021 the parliament amended the electronic media law and several other regulations with the aim of increasing transparency in the publication of information by making public the ownership structure of media service providers.
Research on media pluralism in Croatia has shown that there is a medium level of risk with regard to the protection afforded to journalists and the standards of the journalistic profession. This is reflected primarily in the relatively large number of lawsuits against journalists and lack of editorial autonomy. However, a much higher level of risk exists in the area of market pluralism, which is reflected in the high level of concentration shown by digital platforms and a significant share of the traditional media organizations. Negative aspects of media pluralism are also reflected in the market’s impact on media content and the insufficient protection given to the preservation of competition in the field of digital media.
Bilic, P. (2020) Monitoring Media Pluralism in the Digital Era: Application of the Media Pluralism Monitor in the European Union, Albania and Turkey in the years 2018-2019. Country Report: Croatia. Florence: European University Institute.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s media market is only partly competitive. In the TV segment, competition is mainly between Television New Zealand (TVNZ) – which, despite being publicly owned, is run on a commercial basis – and two international media giants: U.S.-owned MediaWorks and Australian-owned Sky. Media pluralism was further threatened by MediaWorks selling its Three network, as well as the news and current affairs element under the banner of Newshub, to U.S. media company Discovery in 2020, although the news and current affairs programing remained intact (Jennings 2021). In the meantime, the commercial radio market is largely divided up between MediaWorks and New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), with publicly owned and noncommercial Radio New Zealand acting as a third player with a loyal audience. Additional funding for public media is currently in development. Finally, a near-duopoly also exists in the newspaper and magazine publishing industry, where the market is essentially split between NZME and Stuff. While NZME owns the leading daily newspaper, the New Zealand Herald, Stuff controls the country’s second- and third-highest circulation daily newspapers, The Dominion Post and The Press. Stuff, one of New Zealand’s largest media companies, was sold by parent company Nine Entertainment for $1 to its chief executive, former journalist Sinead Boucher. The deal ended years of speculation about the company’s ownership after lengthy attempts by NZME to buy the company were blocked by the Commerce Commission, which had received submissions from a variety of concerned groups and networks in civil society.

There are several online media outlets that provide alternative source of news and information (e.g., The Spinoff, Newsroom, the Conversation and the Guardian New Zealand). These outlets have fewer readers than the major news outlets, but offer critical and evidence-informed analyses that are often reprinted in the mainstream outlets or are taken up by the main three broadcasting actors noted above.
Jennings (2021) “Discovery’s plans for TV3 revealed.” Stuff.
Incomplete transparency of media ownership in Romania continues to favor business individuals who exploit the media environment to advance their own agendas and provide favorable coverage to their preferred candidates. The 2021 Media Pluralism Monitor notes concerns over a lack of specific safeguards for editorial independence and professional norms, which poses a high risk to media pluralism and is further exploited by gaps in legislation related to ownership disclosure requirements. The Media Pluralism Monitor also notes that discretionary distribution of state advertising funds can be used by state authorities to interfere with media, notably at the local level. This phenomenon has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a collapse in private advertising revenue for media companies and therefore increased dependence on state funds.

In a positive development, EuroNews announced in early 2021 that it would be launching a Romanian news channel in partnership with Universitatea Politehnica din București (Bucharest Polytechnic University). The center-left outlet is one of the largest independent news channels in Europe, and will deliver local, regional, national and international news on TV and digital platforms across the country. The outlet will also have journalists and correspondents in Romania. The entrance of EuroNews into the Romanian market marks a positive step in media pluralism and independence.
Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (2021): Monitoring Media Pluralism in the Digital Era, Florence: EUI,
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 construction businessman who is believed to be politically well connected. As a result of these changes, sales of Delo newspaper dropped to the lowest level so far in 2019 (close to 20,000 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 was approved by the Ministry of Culture and the Competition Protection Agency in late July 2019, but never materialized.

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. But in January 2019, Central European Media Enterprises, the owner of Pro Plus, temporarily withdrew from the sale and remained the owner of the country’s largest private TV network, only to be sold to Czech investment group PPF in late 2020. In June 2020, the state-owned telecommunication company Telekom Slovenije sold its troubled subsidiary Planet TV to the Hungarian free-to-air channel TV2, owned by Jozsef Vida. Vida is associated in the media with the business network of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz.

Media pluralism has further suffered from the growing involvement of political parties in the media business. In February 2016, the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), the main opposition party, 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 began publishing the new weekly Scandal24. The governing coalition reacted by establishing a parliamentary investigation commission in charge of determining whether the Hungarian investment in the SDS media represents illegal party financing. However, the investigation did not lead to any legal proceedings.
EU approves takeover of Pro Plus owner, STA, 9 October 2020, available at

Ottavio Marzocchi 2021: The situation of Democracy, the Rule of Law andFundamental Rights in Slovenia. Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs Directorate-General for Internal Policies PE 690.410, p. 11
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. In 2020, for instance,, once the country’s most visited news website, got a new, Orbán-friendly owner. There are still some independent media, but they work under very difficult financial and political circumstances and reach only a small part of the overall population. 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.
The lack of transparency in media funding, the growing influence of political interests on editorial policies, the concentration of media ownership, the shrinking space for pluralism, the increasing restrictions on freedom of expression, and the lack of independence of regulatory authorities remain key concerns.

In recent years, Erdoğan and his party have tightened their control over the media. The process started with the takeover of the Cem Uzan-owned STAR TV by the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF). This was followed by the takeover of Sabah, Takvim and a popular TV channel ATV by the TMSF; these were then sold to loyal businessmen in a procurement process. A landmark case was the sale of Doğan Group-owned Vatan and Milliyet to the pro-AKP Demirören family in 2011 with the help of loans from publicly owned banks.

Turkey Report, a media monitor, finds that there is a high level of risk with respect to three indicators of media pluralism (regulation, political independence and social inclusiveness) and a medium risk with regard to market plurality. On the other hand, free and independent media is one of the components of nongovernmental checks on governmental power.

While small-scale digital brands continue to provide alternative perspectives, they have not managed to achieve significant reach. Many showcase stories from international brands (e.g., BBC Turkish, DW and Euronews), as they have small staffs and are unable to generate much original content. Other perspectives are provided by foreign media outlets, such as the Russian-backed Sputnik and a new Turkish version of the (UK-based) Independent, which is financed and run by the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which has close links to the Saudi royal family. 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.
Bianet Media Monitoring reports 2021 (first three-quarters),

Euronews. “Türkiye’de medyayı kim kontrol ediyor?” May 3, 2019.
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