Monday, September 27, 2010

Deregulation & Southern Europe

by Joann So, Jessica Chavez-Ramirez, Jessica Maldonado, Daisy Hernandez

Summary: The Mediterranean or the Polarized Pluralist Model
(First Half)
The Mediterranean or Polarized Model:
Southern Europe includes France, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy and is distinguished by liberal institutions and histories. However, France is perceived as, “in between the Polarized Pluralist and Democratic Corporatist model because its media is dominated by similar political spheres (polarized pluralist)

Political and Literary Roots of Journalism:
In northern Europe the press was focused on transmitting news on trade, technology and politics and thus, created the first newspaper. While, southern European papers were tied to aristocracy (wealth based in land rather than trade) (91). Therefore, half the journalists in Italy were clergymen and catered to theologians and university professors. On the other hand France found itself reclaiming its press freedom during the Golden Age and today is established as the most successful newspaper circulator in the Mediterranean.
Likewise, leaders from Spain and Italy found themselves becoming journalist prior to winning political elections. Yet, literacy roles continue to be low and only 2/3 percent of the population understood the” Tuscan” in Italy. In addition, L Unita was operated by the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and was a large part of the political subculture in the communist party (about 50% of the papers were party oriented_
Other influential players included the Catholic Church. In Spain and Portugal church owned radio and television networks and controlled a third of the media. Later, (1970-80) broadcasters factored gender and presentation in order to appeal to different audiences. IE: more color and human stories to intrigue women.
On a different note, the Mediterranean press continued its activist role (IE: president’s Bush visit to Greece in 1991) Here, journalists made uncensored negative remarks about Bush. Unlike Anglo media, French media emphasizes on commentary that reflects political roots (99). The authors describe 4 journalistic functions of media: “reporting events (news), background, interpretation and opinions. French media said to emphasize on background, interpretation and opinions. In other words French media is likely to be like Greek media and involve political advocacy.

Today, professionalism in the Mediterranean is described in low terms because
It caters to a smaller more sophisticated audience. (111). In addition, the Mediterranean professional organization of journalists is typically weak. Spain has 60% of its journalist under a professional organization while Italy established a journalist association, were journalist have the same credibility as doctors or lawyers. France has the “Commission de la Care” however its role is centered on providing benefits to journalist. Mediterranean education in journalism also developed later because, one could have become a journalist through a family member or friendship, up until the 1980’s. Even today accountability regulations are absent in the Mediterranean. No country has a regulation council at a national level. France has the “Sindicat National de Journalist” but has not defined or institutionalized this practice.

(Second Half)
In the latter half of the chapter on the Mediterranean or Polarized Pluralist Model, the authors Hallin and Mancini study and analyze the development of media and politics in southern Europe. They are not interested in pointing out flaws in comparison to a more liberalist democratic model but rather want to analyze the way it has turned out and to take a deeper look at the history behind the model that influence the present climate. Some key characteristics of southern Europe pattern are: the closeness of relationship between political actors and media, heavy focus on political life, relatively elitist nature of journalism addressed to an interested, specific group rather than the mass public. This model makes us question whether states within the public sphere of the Mediterrean model are less open because of state ownership, influence, and active participation within media.

Media in Southern Europe is heavily influenced by the state through its authoritarian traditions of intervention and democratic traditions of the welfare state. The state plays two main roles in media – one as the censor and the other as an owner of media enterprises. Direct authoritarian control of dictatorship carried into the democratic period and its influence can be seen particularly within the role of the state as censor. For example, French law authorized the State to seize publications under certain circumstances especially in the 1950s to 1970s (the conflict of Algeria). The state practices significant ownership in commercial media and media enterprises in the Mediterranean countries. Thus, the state has a fair grasp on the country’s media. The breakdown of the roles can be attributed to the fact that Mediterranean systems see the media as a social institution subject to regulation. Contrary to the Democratic Corporatist model, media does not assume the role of the “watchdog” and historically, the central role of the state limited the media’s tendency to do so. Hate speech regulations and privacy laws are especially strong in France and are an example of the state’s interference with the press. However, in the 1980s and 1990s, many of the Mediterranean countries experienced political scandals in which many politicians were tried and spent time in prison. This points to a shift in the attitude in the relationship between the media and state in that the level of deference toward the state decreased.
Acknowledging the state’s presence in southern European media, it helps us to understand that instrumentalization of media by state, parties, private actors is fairly common in a polarized pluralist system. States often utilize media to reinforce, show, persuade. An upside to this model, however, is that a wide range of values from political parties is shown. This leads us to two important key terms – polarized pluralism and clientelism. Politics in the region will be sharply polarized and conflictual between the old order and liberal modernization. In general, liberal democracy arrived later in southern Europe and Europe digested the system more in the form of polarized pluralism (Sartori). Polarized pluralism is a model consisting of many political parties, differing in ideology, covering a wide political spectrum, and including “antisystem” parties on left and right. Today, due in part to “secularization,” polarization has diminished in southern Europe though pluralism deeply influenced the development of media. Media and politics are inevitably intertwined, as newspapers along with other forms of media were some of the main participants among differing idealogical camps. Because politics and media are heavily connected, it is difficult to develop a professional culture and organization to establish party lines. Typically, polarized pluralized systems are made up of different contending factions because the important element of political communication is the process of bargaining. The media is heavily centered on the process as newspapers especially historically serve and participate in this process. The role of the state affected the late development of capitalism in the Mediterranean states but other actors have significant influence as well; business is one example. Clientelism is the pattern of social organization with slow development of rational legal authority in which access to resources is controlled by patrons and delivered to clients in exchange for deference and or support. Clientelism is key to how southern Europe functions because it frames the way information is treated – information is a private resource. It is seen as being destructive of “horizontal” focus of organization. The ending question is whether the southern European model’s public sphere is less open because of state ownership, influence, and active participation within the realm of media.

Summary: The Effects of Deregulation in European Television in the Digital Age
European broadcasting underwent a rapid change during the 1980s, which was in part led by political and economic pressures and resulted in a new notion of broadcasting from a cultural entity to a marketplace. Eventually, deregulation occurred and such sectors of the economy led to their liberation to capital’s unmonitored authority. This created a global market in television that allowed television companies to pursue both domestic and international markets. One major difference between US broadcasting and European broadcasting is that the United States’ media developed in a competitive framework with private and commercially funded companies, while European countries usually supported a form of state control over broadcasting. European countries worked with a mixture of public and private broadcasting, but there were some problems during this period of change: political interference, the introduction of commercial broadcasting services, funding problems in particular for the public service broadcasters, difficulties with introducing regional diversity into systems, and scarcity of frequencies.

Globalization affected the deregulation because it brought technological developments such as cable & satellite. However, some advocated for the reduction of regulatory activity and letting the marketplace drive the level of services. The median industry, politicians, and policy makers all agreed that deregulation would benefit both the national and the international economy. Such technological developments allowed for new commercial broadcasters, and by 2000 the number of channels in Europe surpassed 580 in comparison to its 220 channels in 1996. With the increase of channels, competition arose, and a new sector of foreign broadcast has emerged and a significant market for US film and entertainment industry in Europe. However, it is noted that Europeans prefer local content channels rather than international ones. Despite the increase of international broadcasting, the export performance of the EU industry to other countries has remained low since the mid 1980s. Due to the development of such international broadcasting, Media Plus was created in 2001 to focus on the transnational circulation of European audio- visual works within and outside the EU.

News and current affairs have become a market of their own, and such programming has undergone a major change. Broadcasters are more under pressure of the market and have slowly started to implement marketing. As a result, this importance of news and information services has led journalists to pay more attention to their appearance and how they present themselves in order to keep audiences entertained. However, there is concern that TV channels pay more attention to news presentation and less to the content of news, which undermines the purpose of news by focusing on entertainment aspect.

In addition, there is a sector of different regulatory authorities that control different networks throughout the EU. Each country has established its own regulatory entities that manage the licensing and supervision of public and commercial broadcasters. They also control compliance with broadcasting laws, mission statements, and quotas by inspecting TV programs. Such entities can impose sanctions against broadcasters that violate regulations, or even cancel their licenses.

Overall, deregulation has weakened public broadcasters, and will
provide more competition for commercial channels. There was another wave of deregulation during the 1990s that was led by the technological development of digital cable. The number of channels within Europe kept increasing and showed no sign of slowing. As a result, television consumption increased, which moved television into a more competitive and market- driven environment. Finally, the EU wanted to attempt to regulate the digital services of such markets as it had regulated Europe’s analogue pay – TV market, in order to prevent companies from expanding dominant positions and block any monopolies.

Summary: Press Freedom, the Free Market and the Development of the Modern Press
The free market and development of the modern press by Peter J. Humphreys
European press began with the invention of the movable letter press by Gutenberg, mid fifteenth century. This was seen as the first age of printing. From the start, yearns for freedom press was evident. State and church (ancient régime) worried about the type of information being released to the citizens, hence developed systems of censorship. Revolutions both in American and France developed freedom press statements, 1791 (1st Amendment, U.S. Constitution); 1789 (Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens, Article 11). Industrial capital, key factor in growth of modern press ex: print materials, demand for news and information. Early bourgeois (Britain) state kept newspaper access to social elite by subjecting press to taxation. France went through a periods in which it would reach freedom press, yet was repressed by Napoleon. 1848 other countries that saw freedom press, Switzerland and Denmark. 1881 in France extension of freedom press meant triumph over bourgeois liberalism. Freedom press meant, getting rid of licensing and censorship, also acceptance and legitimate freedom of the press to become a Fourth Estate ( aside from the three original estates: clergy, nobility, and commoners). Freedom press brought social responsibility, a new journalistic professional class, and a new form of reporting.

Wars and economic crises played a role with the press as well, which contributed to the reference to politics. Politicisation of press depicted the changes and what was happening with different European countries at a particular time. A shift of readers to the working class, since readership was extended to them. 1870’s rotary printing press, made newspapers affordable and accessible. Economic crises (Great Crash 1929) forced small local newspapers to shut down. Yet, in France press concentration emerged with titles like, Le Paris Soir. After WWII decline of political press, one reason high cost, so there was a shift to profitability and bigger audiences. There was American influence in the sense that comments and news were clearly divided, and a sense of commercial competition was evident. A decline in the party press in France was seen, which made way for commercialization and not dealing so much with politics. Industrialization and developments gave rise to demands of newspapers focusing on this. Telegraphy was a major development. French Havas agency, British Reuters agency, German Wolff’s Telegraph Bureau (news agencies) together as well as with American Association Press agency gathered news and distributed the news. Misuse of the media also seen, fascist episode, even before Nazi period (propaganda). 1980’s “information revolution” reasons include, advances in technology, telecoms, satellite transmission, and this took away from the state the power over news. Differences in consumption between Northern and Southern Europe, like even though France has a big population it had weak press industries. Industrial relations have also been a factor in terms of affecting the press economically.

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