1st Edition

Public Service Media in Europe Law, Theory and Practice

By Karen Donders Copyright 2021
    330 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    330 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Contributing to a rethink of Public Service Media, this book combines theoretical insights and legal frameworks with practice, examining theory and policy development in a bottom-up manner.

    It explores the practices of Public Service Media across Europe, assessing the rules that govern Public Service Media at both the EU and the National Member State level, identifying common trends, initiated by both the European Commission and individual countries, illustrating the context-dependent development of Public Service Media and challenging the theories of Public Service Broadcasting which have developed an ideal-type public broadcaster based on the well-funded BBC in an atypical media market. Seeking to further explore the actual practices of Public Service Media and make recommendations for the development of more sustainable policies, this book offers case studies of rules and practices from across a variety of EU Member States to consider the extent to which public broadcasters are making the transition to public media organisations, and how public broadcasters and governments are shaping Public Service Media together.

    This book is a must-read for all scholars who take an interest in Public Service Media, media policy and media systems literature at large. It will also be of interest to practitioners working in government, Public Service Media and commercial media.

    1.Introduction: A mismatch between Public Service Media theory, law and practice  Part I- Theory  2.Public Service Media in a digitized and international media market  3.From Public Service Broadcasting to public service anything: The gaps in Public Service Media theory  4.Public Service Media as a democracy- and citizenship-centric project  5.Making Public Service Media work through institutions  Part II – The Law  6.Ideological divisions in national Public Service Media Policy  7.Weak European cultural versus strong economic policies  8.Applying State aid rules in an internationalized and converged media landscape  9.Regulating public broadcasters’ moving online  10.Laws and policy instruments dealing with funding  11.Governance: Optimising for societal value or political control  Part III – Practice  12.Multi-platform strategies of public broadcasters in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Flanders and the Netherlands  13.A prominent market ànd cultural logic in Public Service Media policies in Flanders  14.State broadcasting in Poland  15.Conclusions: Explaining the (mis)match between theory, the law and practice




    Karen Donders is Associate Professor of Media Policy, Media Markets and Political Economy of Journalism at the Communication Sciences Department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She is a member of research group imec-SMIT at the same university. Her expertise areas are Public Service Media, competition law and media, European media policy and platformisation.

    Karen Donders has established herself as the leading academic analyst of the challenges facing public service media in contemporary Europe. Here she combines careful normative theory with in-depth case studies, providing an account that everyone concerned with this topic will have to read. 

    David Hesmondhalgh, Professor of Media, Music and Culture, University of Leeds

    This book asks some tough and much-needed questions about the difference between the public service media we would like and the public service media we actually have. Donders argues that if PSM is to serve democracy, we will need to consider profound changes to the governance, funding and the very stranding of public media in our respective countries. A rich, comprehensive and critical account of our changing media landscape.

    Des Freedman, Professor of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths University of London

    The debate on Public Service Media (PSM) is conducted on many different levels: political, journalistic and academic. Karen Donders' book seems to combine all of the above. Experts' statements and the author's knowledge enabled the creation of a book that presents an in-depth reflection not only on what PSMs are like in Europe, but what they could and should be like in order for their presence to regain a strong democratic legitimacy.

    The existence of the PSM is not only a non-commercial alternative to private media, but also a common denominator for the social debate in which PSMs are responsible for 'giving the tone' to other broadcasters. In the choir of increasingly polarized media in Europe, the PSM's voice is not only still important, but can be an antidote to the "information smog" and disinformation. The work of Karen Donders fits into the debate about the obligations of media, which is important for the quality of democracy.

    Alicia Jaskiernia, Professor at the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies, University of Warsaw

    A thought-provoking book on public service media by one of the absolute experts in the field. Karen Donders brings her extensive knowledge of theories, legal realities and practices as well as her research rigor to a topic she is utterly familiar and totally passionate about. Inviting us to start from the practice and law to come to a future proof theoretical understanding of Public Service Media, Karen Donders has produced a book that is at once an instant classic and that will be of interest to academics, policymakers and professionals well beyond Western Europe.

    Hilde Van den Bulck, Professor and Department Head, Department of Communication, Drexel University College of Arts and Sciences