Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Politicisation Persists and Is Increasing in European Public Service Media in the Digital Society

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Abstract:  The open conclusions with which Hallin and Mancini (2004, 2011) approached their comparative study of Western media systems, initiated in 1998, retain their empirical, revisionist, and prospective value—even from critical perspectives—after a quarter of a century of profound historical, social, and technological changes. The names given to the three traditional media models in those authors’ first publication are used in this article to compare the evolution of funding, audience shares, governance, structure, and political intervention in European countries’ public service media on the one hand, and to contrast the operational hypothesis that politicisation persists and is increasing in European public service media in their adaptation to the digital society, on the other hand. Based on the variables from Hallin and Mancini’s empirical model, five crucial questions about the evolution of public service media in the EU are addressed: intervention and development of regulation by states and by the European Commission in the area of shared powers; a comparative analysis of the funding systems and consumer audiences of each European country’s public service media; the changes in the governance and management structures of said public service media; the variation in the professional culture and the rational-legal authority of their organisations; and the evolution and legitimation of public service media’s public value in the internet society, as well as the persistence or mutability of the national media systems’ fit within Hallin and Mancini’s three original models.

Keywords:  European Union; funding systems; media regulation; media systems; politicisation; public service media


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© Tania Fernández Lombao, Olga Blasco-Blasco, Francisco Campos Freire. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.