Showing posts from April, 2012

The thorny problem of media pluralism

The term pluralism is regularly used in critiques of media and in arguments for public intervention. It is employed so loosely, however, that it allows varied interpretations to be attached and this makes it highly challenging to turn general support for the concept into specific policy. Much of the lack of clarity is the consequence of indefiniteness of the term and because it is used as a proxy for more involved concepts.

The term is derived from “plural”, an indistinct quantitative concept indicating the existence of more than a single thing and plurality itself merely indicates a state of being numerous. This alone allows the term plurality to be used in various ways when applied to media.

For some it means a plurality of media outlets. This is indicated by having multiple types of media and multiple units of each media and the existence of a range of print, broadcast, satellite, and Internet content providers can represent pluralism. For other observers pluralism means plurality in…