Methodology

Theory: media pluralism as key for democratic societies

Media pluralism is a key aspect of democratic societies as free, independent, and diverse media reflect divergent viewpoints and allow criticism of people in power.

Generally, you can distinguish internal media pluralism which refers to how social and political diversity are reflected in media content (e.g. representation of different cultural groups, diverse political or ideological opinions). External media pluralism, on the other hand, covers the number and structure of owners also known as the “plurality” of suppliers.

Risks to diversity of ideas are caused by media market concentration – the opposite of media pluralism -

  • when only a few players exert dominant influence on public opinion and raise entrance barriers for other players and perspectives (media ownership concentration);
  • when media content is uniform and focused only on specific topics, people, ideas and opinions (media content concentration);
  • when the audiences only read, watches and listens to certain media outlets (media audience concentration).

Goal: creating media ownership transparency

Based on a generic methodology, the “Media Ownership Monitor” (MOM) has been developed as a mapping exercise in order to create a publicly available, continuously updated database that lists owners of all relevant mass media outlets. It creates transparency on who owns media, which interests and affiliation owners have, to which extent dependencies exist and thus, who really has a potential influence on public opinion. Fieldwork is not only aimed at finding out, who holds the stakes, but at investigating who eventually controls media. In addition, MOM provides a contextualization and qualitative analysis by assessing the respective market specifics and legal environment in the countries as well.

Data collection was done by local research team from Bianet - Independent Communication Network in collaboration with Reporters Without Borders.

Means: data collection and fieldwork

Based on a generic methodology, the “Media Ownership Monitor” (MOM) has been developed as a mapping exercise in order to create a publicly available, continuously updated database that lists owners of all relevant mass media outlets. It creates transparency on who owns media, which interests and affiliation owners have, to which extent dependencies exist and thus, who really has a potential influence on public opinion. Fieldwork is not only aimed at finding out, who holds the stakes, but at investigating who eventually controls media. In addition, MOM provides a contextualization and qualitative analysis by assessing the respective market specifics and legal environment in the countries as well.

Data collection was done by local research team from Bianet - Independent Communication Network in collaboration with Reporters Without Borders.

Instrument: MOM-user guide

The data collection is conducted following a detailed User Guide, covering following sections:

  • Section A “Context” provides a first look into the media market and flanking conditions, such as the regulatory framework related to ownership issues, country information and media-specific data. This section allows to better understand the findings of the following sections and to contextualize estimated risks for media plurality.
  • In Section B “Media Market”, the types of media that are relevant for opinion-formation are agreed upon on the basis of the audience reach. At most 10 media outlets per media type - TV, radio, print and Internet – are selected.
  • In Section C “Ownership”, owner/ shareholder/ people with influence on the most relevant media are researched. Key media companies are defined economically (related to their revenue) and investigated concerning their ownership characteristics.
  • Section D “Indicators” explains the indicators which allow calculating an index for the risk to media pluralism caused by a certain level of media ownership control.

The User Guide is developed on the basis of already existing media ownership & media pluralism research. Especially the indicators are inspired by and harmonized with the EU-funded (Media Pluralism Monitor) of the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the European University Institute (EUI, Florence)

  • Bianet
  • Reporter without borders
en
tr
  • Project by
    Bianet
  •  
    Reporters without borders
  • Funded by
    BMZ