US Media Policy Development

27Aug12

A scan of media policy-related headlines reaffirms the evolution of US media policy described by Terry Flew in his chapter, “New Media Policies.” In the reading, Flew discussed the “shifting balances between regulation and promotion” and highlighted the differing media policies that emerged in Europe and the US in the post WWII era.  US media policy is consumer driven and focuses on commercial media and regulations that oversee the conduct of private companies in areas such as ownership and access. For example, one columnist’s review of recently release Department of Justice documents from the Verizon and cable companies’ agreement center of how such a deal curtails competition that could then in turn limit access to video, broadband or wireless services for consumers.

Flew also remarked that studying media policy often requires answering three reoccurring questions. One of these questions addresses the politics behind the development of media policy and exploring how such policy is the result of power that is exercised by various stakeholders in the policymaking process rather than the counsel of neutral media experts. Two articles demonstrate the importance of answering such a question. In the first article, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a petition with the FCC to revoke the licenses of three Fox stations because of allegations the stations’ parent company, News Corp, engaged in illegal phone hacking in Great Britain making it unfit to operate television stations.  The second article highlights another form of influence over powerbrokers in the media policymaking process – campaign donations. The NYTimes article found that more donations from media companies are made to President Obama’s campaign. With the amount of money being infused into campaigns and the political process, it is no wonder that media policy continues to be focused on regulation or deregulation of private media companies rather than one that may align with a cultural or arts policy.

 

LINKS:

(8/23/12) “DOJ Releases Confidential Information; Verizon/Cable Deal As Bad As We Thought“ http://benton.org/node/132918

(8/22/12) “Ethics group urges FCC to pull Fox licenses”

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/244747-ethics-group-urges-fcc-to-pull-fox-licenses

(8/22/12) “Donations by Media Companies Tilt Heavily to Obama”

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/donations-by-media-companies-tilt-heavily-to-obama/

 

– Tunga Lodato

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