Exposure Diversity as a Policy Goal
Journal of Media Law, 2012-4, pp. 65-92
28 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2013
Date Written: June 7, 2012
The primary goal of European media policies is to ensure that users have access to pluralistic media content. This is seen as the necessary premise for the exercise of people’s fundamental right to freedom of expression. To this end, existing laws and policies must guarantee that a wide range of content from diverse sources is ready for consumption. Whether that content ultimately reaches the user, who the user is and how she finds and composes her (hopefully) diverse diet are questions on which existing law and policies are still relatively silent.
Media policies' strong focus on diversity of supply does not sit well with the realities of modern media markets where access to and enjoyment of diverse media content increasingly becomes a matter of individual choice, and the ability of individuals to exercise that choice.
The main goal of this article is to critically evaluate existing media diversity policies at the level of the Council of Europe and the European Union, and to examine the extent to which these already consider matters of exposure diversity, or should do so more.
What are the relevant issues in this context, and is it true that matters of exposure diversity are essentially unapproachable for media law and policy? The article will use existing research into exposure diversity to better understand if and how diverse content reaches the user, and what the potential obstacles are. In so doing, the article also pleads for more intensive discussion regarding the integration of research from other disciplines, such as communications sciences, into media policy making. It will conclude with a number of suggestions on key aspects to inform future media diversity policies.
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