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Knowledge in the Development of Economies

Institutional Choices Under Globalisation

Edited by Silvia Sacchetti and Roger Sugden

This innovative book offers a critical perspective on the state of the current global economy, making sense of knowledge-related issues by critically assessing existing institutional choices, as well as pointing to new ways forward.
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Chapter 11: Media, Governance and the Public Interest

J. Robert Branston and James R. Wilson


J. Robert Branston and James R. Wilson 1. INTRODUCTION When Gutenberg invented the printing press in the fifteenth century, he started a revolution that brought the communication of ideas to the masses. Since this innovation, the media industry in its various forms has progressively developed into a feature in people’s lives. For example, in 2007 the British communications industry had revenues of a staggering £51.2bn (OFCOM, 2008, p. 9), equivalent to almost £850 per person in the UK.1 Today the ‘media industry’ encompasses many different types of communication. Among these we can separate out as ‘traditional media’ the publication of newspapers/magazines and the analogue broadcast of radio and television programmes. Developed either in parallel or independently in their own right are the ‘new media’ of digital broadcasts and websites viewed using the Internet, themselves incorporating an increasingly sophisticated set of tools such as blogs, podcasts, e-publications and interactive features. As a society we rely on this whole range of media outlets for news and information, for political developments and discussion, for important weather or traffic updates, for warnings that may impact directly on our health and safety, and, not least, for entertainment that has the potential to bring us great welfare gains. Firms also rely on the media to inform people about their products through advertising, and it might be argued that people rely on such adverts to become informed of consumption possibilities. Taken as a whole, through all of these channels the media industry plays a key role in...

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