One of the pillars of freedom of expression in the audiovisual sector is media pluralism. This concept covers, on the one hand, the availability of a variety of choice in the programming of the different media players. On the other hand, it concerns the effective presence of a multitude of operators so as to avoid an excessive concentration of the market.
Media pluralism, as such, has been widely explored by legislation and case-law both at the national and European levels. A related issue is the need for ensuring transparency of the financing of the various media providers, and an adequate knowledge of their ownership structure and control or influence.
For these purposes most countries have put in place tools and mechanisms to allow for the collection of the necessary information, which also allows the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) to compile a certain proportion of this data. Other sources of information are made available by regulatory bodies throughout Europe, and administrative case-law, which is also related to competition issues, completes the picture.
This IRIS Special provides an overview of the current market realities and a selection of regulatory responses that have been put in place across Europe since the Observatory’s report on “Converged markets – converged power? Regulation and case law” of 2012. It has been prepared by the Institute of European Media Law (EMR) in Saarbrücken and collects contributions from various authors.
IRIS Special focuses on a selection of European countries, which have been chosen with the intention of providing a set of different approaches: Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, and Poland.