Measuring Independence: Approaches, Limitations, and a New Ranking Tool
In: The Independence of the Media and Its Regulatory Agencies. Shedding New Light on Formal and Actual Independence Against the National Context, W. Schulz, P. Valcke & K. Irion (eds.), Bristol UK/ Chicago USA: Intellect 2013, p. 139-184.
35 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2014
Date Written: October 14, 2013
It is the starting point of this chapter that there is no accepted methodology to measure the formal and de facto independence of independent regulatory authorities, even if some progress has been made in this field, and that empirical research on the subject, consequently, is scarce and very fragmented. To the extent that they exist at all, studies tend to concentrate on measuring formal independence, since specific legal provisions can be identified and assessed much more easily than the de facto expression of independence. This chapter will introduce the different approaches to measuring formal and de facto independence that have been proposed and critically reflect their potential and limitations, especially for comparative research. Two aspects specific to the audiovisual media sector are particularly relevant in this respect:
1. the objective of regulation in the media sector to guarantee media freedoms and
2. the specific and sometimes sensitive relationship between the media sector and the public authorities (i.e. the media as ‘fourth state power’).
Subsequently, this chapter introduces a ranking tool which has been developed specifically to measure the risk of influence by external players, rather than one to measure the level of independence of the regulators themselves. This enables a more objective method for ranking the indicators. The ranking approach follows the overall distinction between formal and de facto indicators. The methodology will be described and the use of the ranking tool will be illustrated.
Keywords: independent regulatory authorities, independence, formal independence, de facto indepedence, composite index, ranking tool
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