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SANDRA BAŠI? HRVATIN & LENART J. KUČI?: MONOPOLY. A SOCIAL GAME OF MEDIA TRADE (2005)

The authors of this book want to show that the issue of ownership in the media is more than a lofty academic topic which has nothing to do with the media practice. The authors discuss several more or less successful models, which of course are not perfect, yet, they can thwart many a contentious endeavour, for a political will and a belief that neither “the state” nor “the market” are the best regulator of the media subtend the passed legislation. These models also show that it is possible to detect even such elusive phenomena as “media pluralism”. Since the consequences of concentration are difficult to predict even in the economic sphere, the issue of ownership in the media has been predominantly a topic for debate among media theorists. The warnings about the dangers of covert ownership as well as about the pitfalls of obvious, often perfectly legal concentration of ownership in the media are soon displaced by the demands for a clear and irrefutable proof of the abuse of ownership, especially if it involves tangible meddling with journalistic work, for instance in the form of censorship. Although difficult to contest, this is a moot point, for it does not take into account the difference between power as a functional potential and power in its actual implementation. The need for “proof” of the abuse of the proprietary power can easily lead to over-simplified approaches, which is why the subjects of media power, often under the guise of a liberal approach to the market, diminish the significance of ownership and displace the responsibility onto the content (the journalists) and the market (the advertisers). 

 

This state of the concentration of the media has been greatly abetted by its critics, who hardly ever articulate a concern about the contradictory and paralysing impulses of the market-based mass media and the expansion of market censorship. Similarly ineffectual have been their attempts to uphold a model of non-market media against their market-based rivals. In the past few years, the European media politics – ironically, but not unexpectedly – underwent a change. As the global economic integration increasingly erodes the meaning of state borders and the economic power of nation-states, the latter have started consolidating the role of “home-grown” media companies. The change has had two consequences. First, the states have become more tolerant of the phenomenon of the media concentration and the dominant media companies have increased their market share, while the number of organisations monitoring the media has dropped. Second, the opposition to the international control of the media concentration has intensified. Methodologically, Bašič Hrvatin and Kučič’s book adheres to the similar investigations conducted by the eminent authors in this field – R. Bagdikian, R. McChesney and D. Alger. It does, however, take a step further, for it shows the impact of the media concentration on the content, that is, the book lays bare the transformation of the concentration of ownership into the concentration of opinion. The case studies of the media concentration in Italy, UK, France, and USA testify to the fact that the power of the media amounts to political power.

Colophon


MEDIAKCIJE 03 

Slovene edition. 

Regular price:  16.27 EUR 

25 % discount for Maska subscribers: 12.21 EUR

Publication description:

307 pages, 170 x 240 mm, čb reproductions