Map of the Mediterranean
In the fifth chapter of Comparing Media Systems, Hallin and Mancini commence their discussion of the The Mediterranean or the Polarized Pluralist Model by defining what constitutes the “Mediterranean” countries here placed in question. The countries that constitute Southern Europe in their discussion are Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and to a lesser extent, France. These countries have been grouped together under this model of polarized pluralism due to the sharp political cleavages that persisted as a result of their late development of such liberal systems as political democracy and capitalist industrialism. Polarized pluralism describes a model of liberal democracy wherein a vast array of distinct political parties exists, and inhabits an exceedingly wide spectrum of political stances. Hallin and Mancini argue that the late implementation of liberal ideologies has been instrumental in shaping the distinct media trends of these Mediterranean countries, due to the tradition of mass media as an arena for expressing political ideologies and enacting political negotiation and mobilization; the circulation of media in Southern Europe has customarily been dependent on subsidies from the state and other politically-inclined enterprises, thus limiting the forces of commercialization.
Historically, the state has played a great role in the media of Southern Europe, and therefore has great power to intervene, however the effectiveness of such interventions have often been compromised by lack of resources or political consensus. Censorship by the state lingers even in the democratic governments of today. State ownership of media enterprise is also a concept of Mediterranean countries both in broadcasting and the press. The Radio-Television-Francaise under Charles de Gaulle is exemplary of the Government Model of broadcast organization, in which the government assumes direct control over public broadcasting. In such a system, politics takes precedence over broadcasting, a marked symptom of a party-politicized system. Until 1964 all top personnel of the R.T.F. were appointed directly of the French Minister of Information. To this day, Italy and France maintain the highest levels of subsidies to the press in Europe, but some funds are directed toward marginal papers to protect political diversity.