Television Across Europe (2008)

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Television, a pillar of democracy and open societies, is changing at a breakneck pace. Patterns of production, transmission, consumption, marketing, financing, and ownership are all in flux.

To take the measure of these changes and assess their impact on the independence of television—especially in the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe—the Open Society Institute has mapped the main developments in broadcasting legislation, policy, and markets in nine countries: Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Lithuania, the Republic of Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

These countries were previously included in the 2005 Television Across Europe monitoring project. The new reports are sequels, measuring the progress—or lack thereof—in improving the independence and pluralism of broadcasting over the past three years. As with the previous series of reports, these surveys are addressed to policymakers, civil society activists, and academics, as a contribution to bringing about change where it is needed.
Key Findings

Public-service broadcasters suffer from mounting politicization and pressure, flawed funding models, and disintegrating reputations.
Broadcast regulators are increasingly politicized. Only a few have taken initiatives to let a more diverse range of operators enter the market.
Public service content has not been boosted by incentives or obligations.
Transparency of commercial media ownership remains a major problem.
Although debate on media policy and reform has intensified, civil society is rarely consulted in a meaningful way.
There has been no concerted effort to promote media literacy. Where this happens at all, it is carried out mainly by NGOs.

Television Across Europe is a project of the Open Society Institute EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program and Media Program.

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