Media meet the citizen. Beyond market mechanisms and government regulations
SourceEuropean Journal of Communication, 19, 2, (2004), pp. 165-194
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ NISCO CW
European Journal of Communication
Structural changes in the media world, including an increase in competition and commercialization, mean that the topicality and urgency of the notion of social responsibility in the media are increasing. Analogously, the discussion of the social responsibility of companies and organizations becomes a central concern in the business world and within government, as the relatively new concept of 'good governance' shows. In recent years we have seen that the absolute belief in the free market is once again under debate. Rather than a return to a controlling government as the main provider of a context in the complex 'ecology' of communication policy, possible solutions are now sought in greater responsibility for the media actors themselves (media companies and organizations, citizens, supervisory boards and commissions) and in self-regulation in the media profession. This article assesses accountability mechanisms currently in existence in the Netherlands and provides a comparative overview of interesting practices in other geographical contexts. This contribution also examines the academic reflection upon and conceptualization of such notions as social 'responsibility' and media 'accountability' in the division of labour throughout the market, the government and civil society. We are thinking of mechanisms for accountability such as a contract between the government and the broadcasters, an ombudsperson, forms of self-regulation, supervisory bodies, forms of public consultation, and the profession seeking contact with the citizens (e.g. civic journalism).
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