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

April 2010 - March 2013
Daniel Smilov, Georgy Ganev and

The project ‘European Media Policies Revisited: Valuing & Reclaiming Free and Independent Media in Contemporary Democratic Systems’ (MEDIADEM) is a European research project, aimed at examining the factors that promote or hinder policy development for media freedom and independence.

The project combines a country-based study with a comparative analysis across media sectors and types of media services and investigates the complex array of policy approaches and regulatory, co-regulatory and self-regulatory practices established to safeguard media freedom and independence. We hypothesise that the configuration of media policies is conditioned by a series of legal, institutional, political, socio-economic and cultural factors. In order to verify whether regulatory measures promote free and independent media, the project places regulatory activity in its proper national context and will investigate the way in which regulatory instruments are put into practice. The main assumption of MEDIADEM is that legal culture, institutional traditions, as well as economic, socio-cultural and political domestic peculiarities exert a significant influence on how regulatory norms are construed and implemented as well as how they are perceived and whether or not they are truly respected. External pressures on the formulation of media policies, stemming from the action of regional organisations, such as the European Union and the Council of Europe, are also analysed.

In examining domestic media policy-making processes, the project will also investigate the opportunities and challenges posed by new media services for media freedom and independence. MEDIADEM will explore the characteristics of these new forms of communication, their interaction with established media sectors, their democratic importance and their contribution to a free and independent media environment.

MEDIADEM’s country studies have been selected to reflect the diversity of European media regulatory models and the wide range of factors that influence media policy design and implementation. The countries covered by the project  fall under the various models of media systems identified by Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini in Comparing Media Systems: Three Models of Media and Politics: the Mediterranean or Polarised Pluralist Model (Greece, Italy, Spain), the Northern European or Democratic Corporatist Model (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany) and the North Atlantic or Liberal Model (the UK). Additionally, the project covers countries from Central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Estonia, Romania, Slovakia), as well as EU candidate countries (Croatia, Turkey).

The project is a joint interdisciplinary effort of 14 partner institutions that will make a significant contribution to media policy development by advancing knowledge on how media freedom and independence can be safeguarded in Europe. It will thus be of particular interest to state and European policy makers, civil society and the public at large.

The project receives funding of approximately 2.65 million Euro from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (grant agreement FP7-SSH-2009-A no. 244365) and has duration of 3 years, starting in April 2010.

The project website can be accessed here.

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