Media System, Public Knowledge and Democracy

A Comparative Study

James Curran, Shanto Iyengar, Anker Brink Lund, Inka Salovaara-Moring

Goldsmiths University London, Stanford University, Copenhagen Business School, University of Helsinki

European Journal of Communication, SAGE Publications, 2009, 24(1), p.5-26


This article addresses the implications of the movement towards entertainment-centred, market-driven media by comparing what is reported and what the public knows in four countries with different media systems. The different systems are public service (Denmark and Finland), a ‘dual’ model (UK) and the market model (US). The comparison shows that public service television devotes more attention to public affairs and international news, and fosters greater knowledge in these areas, than the market model. Public service television also gives greater prominence to news, encourages higher levels of news consumption and contributes to a smaller within-nation knowledge gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged. But wider processes in society take precedence over the organization of the media in determining how much people know about public life.

To read this recommended article in full, click here.

Reinventing Public Service Broadcasting in Europe

Prospects, Promises and Problems

Johannes Bardoel & Leen d’Haenens

University of Amsterdam; Catholic University of Leuven; Raboud University Numegen

Media, Culture and Society, SAGE Publications, 2008, 30(3), p.337-355


New information technologies, liberalising policies and rapidly changing societies – from mono- to multicultural – entail serious consequences for the prospects of European public service broadcasters in a network society. The European concept of PSB as a comprehensive and universal service is challenged by both EU and national authorities at three levels: 1) mission and program task (comprehensive or complementary programming?), 2) organization (central organisation or a ‘distributed public service’?) and 3) financing (license fee, advertising or ‘state aid’?). There are pressures towards a more ‘pure’ model of public service broadcasting and/or towards de-institutionalisation of PSB and ‘distributed public service’. Recent pleadings for (eg, in the Netherlands) and practices (eg, in New Zealand) of new PSB policy directions will be evaluated. The paper deals with the question whether the European full-fledged PSB model is still realistic or a more small-scale public service à la the American PBS would be a more viable prospect.

To read the full article, see Sage Publications here.

Public Service Broadcasting

A new beginning, or the beginning of the end?

Dr. Karol Jakubowicz

Knowledge Politics, retrieved from:



In this 2007 paper for Knowledge Politics, the late Karol Jakubowicz explores what the long-term future holds for public service broadcasting in the context of a rapidly changing media landscape. With the move to a digital-only environment in mind, Jakubowicz outlines the benefit of public service broadcasting to the UK and wider European economies, cultures and democracies.

To read the full report, click here.