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Framing media mergers in France and the United States
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing media mergers in France and the United States 13 controlled the electronic media, although nominally the French electronic media were publicly controlled by independent bodies (Browne, 1999). The government’s clout gradually waned from the 1980s onward with a shift from a public funding model to a mixed model in which some channels are funded by advertising while others subsist on a mix of public, governmental and commercial revenue streams, but the government remains an active actor which defines the rules in the French media sector. The main audiovisual regulatory body in France is the CSA (Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel) which is the last incarnation of a series of different regulatory bodies which were entrusted with the oversight of the French electronic media industry. In the U.S., especially since the 1980s, administrations have tended to support a deregulatory approach to the regulation of the media industry (Gomery, 2000, 526-532). This approach reached a highpoint with the 1996 Telecommunications Act which considerably eased the possibility for cross-ownership of different media outlets. Relevant regulatory parties include the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), the Justice Department and the FCC (Federal Communication Commission). The press and the electronic media continue to receive considerable constitutional protection from government censorship. Both the electronic media and the American press have been characterized as “commercial” and “confrontational”, framing politics as a game and focusing on individuals (Patterson, 2000). The French case was chosen because it starkly contrasts with the U.S. while still being a Western liberal democracy. The active role of the French government seems to suggest that French political actors would have greater presence in a debate about the media industry than their American counterpart would have in a debate about their own market.

Authors: Davidson, Roei.
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Framing media mergers in France and the United States
13
controlled the electronic media, although nominally the French electronic media were
publicly controlled by independent bodies (Browne, 1999). The government’s clout
gradually waned from the 1980s onward with a shift from a public funding model to a
mixed model in which some channels are funded by advertising while others subsist on a
mix of public, governmental and commercial revenue streams, but the government
remains an active actor which defines the rules in the French media sector. The main
audiovisual regulatory body in France is the CSA (Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel)
which is the last incarnation of a series of different regulatory bodies which were
entrusted with the oversight of the French electronic media industry.
In the U.S., especially since the 1980s, administrations have tended to support a
deregulatory approach to the regulation of the media industry (Gomery, 2000, 526-532).
This approach reached a highpoint with the 1996 Telecommunications Act which
considerably eased the possibility for cross-ownership of different media outlets.
Relevant regulatory parties include the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), the Justice
Department and the FCC (Federal Communication Commission). The press and the
electronic media continue to receive considerable constitutional protection from
government censorship. Both the electronic media and the American press have been
characterized as “commercial” and “confrontational”, framing politics as a game and
focusing on individuals (Patterson, 2000).
The French case was chosen because it starkly contrasts with the U.S. while still being a
Western liberal democracy. The active role of the French government seems to suggest
that French political actors would have greater presence in a debate about the media
industry than their American counterpart would have in a debate about their own market.


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