Media Concentration Law: Gaps and Promises in the Digital Age

Research Outline

In this article, Theresa Seipp analyses and critically revisits media concentration law. She argues that concentrations of power are increasing in today’s media landscape. Reasons for this include increasing structural and technological dependences on digital platform companies, as well as shifts in opinion power and control over news production, distribution, and consumption. Digital opinion power and platformised media markets have prompted the need for a re‐evaluation of the current approach.

Theresa employs a normative conceptual framework that examines ”opinion power in the platform world” at three distinct levels (individual citizen, institutional newsroom, and media ecosystem). At each level, the existing legal tools and gaps in controlling power and concentration in the digital age are identified. Based on that, a unifying theoretical framework for a “digital media concentration law,” along with core concepts and guiding principles is offered.

Policy goals and fields that are outside the traditional scope yet are relevant for addressing issues relating to the digital age are highlighted. Additionally, the emerging European Union regulatory framework—specifically the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, and the European Media Freedom Act—reflects an evolving approach regarding platforms and media concentration. On a final note, the analysis draws from the mapping and evaluation results of a Europe‐wide study on media pluralism and diversity online, which examined (national) media concentration rules.


Publication

Media Concentration Law: Gaps and Promises in the Digital Age
Media and Communication

Theresa Seipp
2023