Title: Comparative analysis of risks for political independence of public service media across 19 European Union member states
Author: SIMUNJAK, Maja
Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS; 2016/34; Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF)
This paper examines risks for political independence of public service media in European Union Member States by examining safeguards for guaranteeing independence of public service media’s governance and its funding mechanisms. The analysis was conducted in 19 EU countries through a questionnaire-based method. Local experts from each of the examined countries evaluated media policy on the appointment procedures for management and board functions in the PSM, and mechanisms of providing funding to the PSM by the government. In addition to examining media policy related to these issues, local teams also evaluated the extent to which these are implemented. The results show that in five out of 19 analysed countries local experts have described media policy as insufficient in providing fair, objective and transparent appointment procedures for management and board functions in PSM. Furthermore, more than half of the countries which considered national media policy on appointment procedures to be well defined in safeguarding PSM’s independence, declared some degree of risk in the implementation of this policy, pointing to situations in which the government or other political groupings have in the past few years tried to interfere with the appointment processes. Also, results show that there are large differences in the mechanisms of PSM funding. Overall, results point to differences in media policies concerned with PSM’s governance and funding among EU countries, with many risks associated with these policies and their implementation.