Media pluralism and the European audiovisual space
The role and cooperation of independent regulatory authorities
This thesis explores the legal and institutional settings that contribute to the creation of general preconditions for the freedom of expression and, primarily, genuine pluralism to prosper throughout the European audiovisual media space. Taking into account the intense legislative and judicial activity on audiovisual media matters in the European Union (EU) and bearing in mind the developments brought about by new digital communications and technological convergence, the analysis focuses on the institutional forms and modes of governance for the media that are apt to foster an effective and... consistent supranational approach to the fundamental objective of media pluralism and the values it involves, considering notably the role and functioning of Independent Administrative Authorities (IAAs) for the media. To this end, the three Parts into which the Thesis is divided deal with, respectively: the notion of media pluralism and its employment in EU law, highlighting the limits of classical hard-law based approaches (Part I); an examination of the institutional features as well as the operation of three national IAAs for the media – namely, the French Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) and the Italian Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCom) – selected as case studies to illustrate the role of these bodies in securing media pluralism (Part II); the investigation of EU action in setting the necessary institutional preconditions and some specific related requirements to guarantee attainment of this objective, also looking in some detail at the legislative developments that have occurred in comparable sectors, such as data protection legislation, equality law and electronic communication regulation, before considering the arrangements in place at the supranational level, as well as the incipient ones in the governance of audiovisual media (Part III).