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Regulation, Governance and Convergence in the Media

Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

Media convergence is often propounded as inevitable and ongoing. Yet much of the governance of the media sector’s key parts has developed along discrete evolutionary paths, mostly incremental in character. This volume breaks new ground through exploring a diverse range of topics at the heart of the media convergence governance debate, such as next generation networks, spectrum, copyright and media subsidies. It shows how reluctance to accommodate non-market based policy solutions creates conflicts and problems resulting in only shallow media convergence thus far.
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Chapter 6: Regulating media concentration in a converging media environment

Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

Extract

Chapter 6 analyses media concentration, arguing that it remains a major policy issue in the Internet environment. After arguing the importance of ensuring a multiplicity of voices in the media for underpinning democracy, the chapter explains why the media are particularly prone to economic pressures towards concentration. It then explores trends in media concentration and its regulation in the US and in Europe, showing how the common trend has been the progressive de-regulation of sector-specific structural rules designed to limit media concentration, the ideological force for which has been a neo-liberal policy turn from the 1980s on and the principle argument against them being their alleged inappropriateness in the converging new media environment. The chapter examines the viewpoint that the Internet has a pluralising impact, showing that concentration persists and therefore still needs addressing through policy and regulation. The chapter concludes by suggesting some policy pointers.

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