The European Union Democratic Deficit and the Public Sphere

An Evaluation of EU Media Policy


Ward, D.

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The book provides an assessment of European Union communications policy judged against democratic and normative criteria within the framework of the question of the need for a European wide public sphere. Taking as a starting point the democratic deficit and the problem of a lack of a developed public sphere at a level that is equal in scale and scope to the decision making bodies of the European Community, the book evaluates the extent to which, the EU has attempted to employ communication policy to support democratic media. It sets forth an argument that if the EU is to proceed it must do so through the mass media, and in order to do so it needs to formulate policy based on a public service philosophy. In this respect it analyses the dual nature of communications policy as it has been applied by the European Commission to the television sector and identifies the dynamics of EU audiovisual policy by the reviewing the free movement of programmes principle, media pluralism and the question of state aid and public service. The book concludes with the claim that the European Commission is responsible for the decline and commercialization of the television sector, have misunderstood many aspects of the Community’s approach to the audiovisual sector and it is therefore necessary to review and reassess the nature of policy at the EU level.

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