Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mediterranean Media

Hallin & Mancini's Comparing Media Systems looks at Europe in the 3 regions below:

The study examines

-markets in relation to economies

-political parties in relation to press

-professionalism of media

Political parallelism: how much the media advocate parties and support the ruling power

Politcial pluralism: variety in media with different political views

Governance: political party control of media

Role of the state: variation in funding, regulation, intervention

Professionalization: media as accurate, reliable and serving as fair social judgment

CHAPTER 5: The Mediterranean or the Polarized Pluralist Model

In the mid 1970’s Greece, Portugal and Spain became liberal democracies. These countries, along with Italy and France, make up the region of Southern Europe. All of these countries share a holdover from the old garde: aristocracy, political strife, state control and strong church presence.

The Catholic backdrop in the southern countries resulted in lower literacy

The development of journalism was slow in southern Europe, mainly due to strong conservative traditions and illiteracy. Political strife in the South also delayed media progress and created a general mistrust of mass media.

Mussolini, 2nd from the left created a list of journalists to know exactly who wrote what about him

May 1968, Paris

1968 in France created some shifts in ownership at Le Figaro. Liberation was created after the 1968 uprising as a cooperative radical paper. Le Monde keeps a policy of limiting advertising in order not to be swayed by anyone group

The Carnation revolution in Portugal in 1974 freed the press. For Spain, the fall of Franco in 1975 resulted in more press supporting democratic ideals.

Importantly in these countries there are examples of church newspapers and political papers that demonstrate value systems. The idea of polarized pluralist means right wing and left wing extremes with little middle ground.

Polarized Pluralism, 129-133
The idea of polarized pluralism is an observation of countries who have far distance from right and left points of view. There has been a decrease in polarization in recent years. The characteristics of polarized pluralism
-closeness of the relationship between political actors and the media
-heavy focus of the media on political life
-elitist nature of journalism
-addressed to political insiders

The left wing papers of France versus the right

In the 1970’s-80’s most Mediterranean news shifted to market interest. Tabloid or sensationalist popular newspapers were virtually absent in the Mediterranean South, with the exception of France Soir. France Soir was also part of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published them first in September 2005 then France Soir reacted published them in 2006 to demonstrate religious and press freedom. The paper stated "because no religious dogma can impose itself on a democratic and secular society."

Political Parallelism
Political parallelism is the degree to which media align with party opinions. Greece is known for opinionated journalists who sometimes run for office. Italy has had filmmakers like Pasolini contribute. French journalism is a journalism of expression, emphasizing the political ideas and opinions over hard news, though “information journalism” is growing. For example, The New York Times is 90% news dominated while Le Monde and Le Figaro are 70% news dominated.


In Italy, political opinions are clear as in 1974 when a referendum was held to overturn the law permitting divorce, the paper “Il Messaggero” had the entire front page taken up by the word “No!” By contrast, due a past of propaganda, Spain’s main paper El Pais’ guidelines now reads “information and opinion shall be clearly differentiated from one another.”

Politics and Public Broadcasting
In Greece, Portugal and Spain the political majority has control of public broadcasting. In Italy, the RAI is a broadcaster with 3 channels each given to a different political force. France uses the rule of three thirds has been in place since 1969 allowing time on political speakers should be split government-parliamentary majority-opposition and when there are elections time must be equal between candidates. In 2000 small parties were also added in for time and the CSA monitors the content each month.

Professionalization, 110
Limited development of media markets in the Mediterranean countries meant that the level of professionalism was lower. In 1963, thanks to a new Italian law, the Order of Journalists became the professional system, complete with rules, pensions, control organs and admission requirements. Law 69/1963 states that: the freedom to inform and criticize is the journalists inalienable right, while it is the journalists inescapable duty to respect the essential truth regarding the facts uncovered, and always to fulfill the obligations imposed by the spirit of loyalty and good faith.

The Media and the State, 119
Italy and France have the highest levels of state subsidies in Europe in the form of tax breaks or reduced utilities. Portugal and Spain have less subsidies. What is your opinion of the government subsidizing press? All EU countries are required to allow a right of reply to the press, if criticized. Scandals grew during the 80’s and 90’s. Italian journalists uncovered a Milanese bribe network. French journalists discovered nuclear testing.

Savage Deregulation, 124
Portugal is the example of uncontrolled increase in public broadcasting, made worse by the removal of a license fee in 1991. Italy and Greece also qualify for some unmonitored broadcast development.

Clientelism, 135
Clientelism is a pattern of social organization in which access to resources is controlled by patrons delivered to clients in exchange for support. The sharing of resources includes information (137) which creates problems in the press, if certain people are given information privileges.

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