Research project

European Media Policies Revisited: Valuing and Reclaiming Free and Independent Media in Contemporary Democratic Systems (MEDIADEM)

MEDIADEM seeks to understand and explain the factors that promote (or conversely hinder) the development of policies in support of free and independent media. The project combines a country-based study in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and the UK with a comparative analysis across media sectors and types of media services, and investigates the complex array of policy approaches and regulatory and self-regulatory practices established to safeguard media freedom and independence.

In order to verify whether regulatory measures actually advance a more democratic political order through the diversification of media outlets, sources and content, the project places them in their proper sociopolitical, economic and cultural context, and examines how state and non-state perceptions about the role the media should play in contemporary society influence the implementation of the norms enacted. External pressures stemming from the actions of regional organisations, such as the Council of Europe and the EU, are also investigated in detail.

More about MEDIADEM

Free and independent media are vital for the workings of democratic systems. Media structures that are free of interference from government, business or other social groups, and in which access to diverse views and opinions is effectively guaranteed, support democratic debate and sustain citizens’ active involvement in political and civic life.

Given the strong interconnection between politics, business and the media, the creation and safeguarding of an environment that is supportive of media freedom and independence remains a continuous and open-ended process all across Europe. Political and economic actors as well as sociocultural elites regularly seek to exert an influence on domestic media policymaking due to the important role the media play in providing information about the economy and political affairs.

The central assumption of MEDIADEM is that domestic economic, sociopolitical and cultural peculiarities greatly affect how legal norms are interpreted and implemented, how they are perceived and received, and whether they are truly respected. Simultaneously, given the substantial changes brought about by new technologies regarding the way citizens obtain information, the project examines the opportunities and challenges posed by new media services for media freedom and independence.

The project aims to make a significant contribution to media policy development by advancing knowledge on how media freedom and independence can be safeguarded in Europe. It is thus of particular interest to state and European policymakers, civil society and the public at large.

Project lead