Writing before the current Euro crisis, Papathanassopoulos and Negrine set out to place the normative debate about Europeanization of identity and the public sphere in a more solid empirical context, by describing the state of development of the media sector in European countries. The analysis is based in ‘political economy’ of the media. If there was a criticism of this excellent book it would be that this key notion is under-theorised: Political economy for these authors consists in issues such as the balance of private and public ownership – where recent years have seen the end of public service monopolies all over Europe and there has been a clear convergence around the ‘dual system’ of public plus commercial broadcasting that originated in the UK and Germany. Political economy refers to the regulatory architecture – where the EU sponsored model of independent, and increasingly ‘converged’ broadcasting and telecoms regulators has become the norm.
The other part of political economy of the media – that concerned with the realpolitik of media power and how it is exercised – lies beyond the horizon of this book, or perhaps buried in its assumptions.
The media integration project in Europe barely got off the ground, and with the current crisis it’s not likely to anytime soon | LSE Review of Books