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The effectiveness of media ownership control in the Internet

Corinna Wenzel
Universität Salzburg
Corinna Wenzel
Universität Salzburg
Open Panel

Abstract

The digital revolution transfers traditional media services to the Internet. This has consequences for media power and therefore for the state of democracy, since the power of opinion affects democratic values and practices. The existence of monopolies like Google, Apple and Facebook leads to the assumption that concentration of power in opinion in the Internet rises. Until today, there have not been implemented any regulative provisions for any cross media ownership control neither at the national nor at the supranational level. The main Research Question of this article refers to the degree of pluralism in the internet when it comes to positions and opinions between different content providers, as well as the type of concentration (horizontal, vertical or multimedia). This raises the question, whether the traditional instruments for ownership regulation are adequate for the internet or if there is a need for new instruments. Because of its hybrid character and the possibility of establishing non-linear services, the ownership structures get even more intransparent. Through quantitative and qualitative content analysis the selection of issues in European internet content providers will be analyzed. Furthermore, using structural analyzes, the degree of cross media ownership in the Internet will be analyzed. Additionally, it will be questioned how the elimination of in-between online brokers and distributors affects media ownership concentration. My thesis is that effective media ownership control requires competition law but also a need for specific media ownership control in the sense of European, supranational framework.