Writing before the current Euro crisis, Papathanassopoulos and Negrine set out to place the normative debate about Europeanization of identity and the public sphere in a more solid empirical context, by describing the state of development of the media sector in European countries. The analysis is based in ‘political economy’ of the media. If there was a criticism of this excellent book it would be that this key notion is under-theorised: Political economy for these authors consists in issues such as the balance of private and public ownership – where recent years have seen the end of public service monopolies all over Europe and there has been a clear convergence around the ‘dual system’ of public plus commercial broadcasting that originated in the UK and Germany. Political economy refers to the regulatory architecture – where the EU sponsored model of independent, and increasingly ‘converged’ broadcasting and telecoms regulators has become the norm.
The other part of political economy of the media – that concerned with the realpolitik of media power and how it is exercised – lies beyond the horizon of this book, or perhaps buried in its assumptions.
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