Industry versus democracy: the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive as a site of ideological struggle

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This article explores the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive which will be the main instrument of media regulation in the European Union for the next years. However, instead of analyzing the directive itself which entered into force in December 2007 I am interested in its history. I will focus on 2 years of intense deliberation among EU institutions that preceded the final directive. A discourse analysis highlights the conflicting rationales that two EU institutions, the European Parliament and the European Commission, use in their respective drafts of the directive. The central point of reference in the Commission's draft is the Single Market, with Europeans being addressed as consumers. In contrast, at the heart of the Parliament's concept of media regulation is a European public sphere composed of European citizens. My analysis illustrates how, in the process of drafting and redrafting the law text, the Parliament's emphasis on the media's role for democracy is considerably stripped down.

Keywords: Audiovisual Media Services Directive; European Union; discourse analysis; draft directive; media regulation; policy analysis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.

Publication date: December 8, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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