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Integration-Related Remit and Functions of Public Service Media

Integration-Related Remit and Functions of Public Service Media

Public service media play a pivotal role in the German media system as well as in the media repertoires of the population. In recent years, however, the debate about their mission and scope of services has intensified, especially with respect to their relevance in digital media environments.

This interdisciplinary project wants to combine a legal and regulatory science perspective with a communication science perspective within the framework of the Forschungsinstitut gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt (FGZ, Research Institute Social Cohesion). Based on this, it will address the following research questions:
  • What does the public service media remit to create social cohesion look like from from (constitutional) law?
  • And how do social subgroups perceive the performance of services of public service media in this respect?
 
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Project Description

Thematic Connection to Social Cohesion

Given their relative independence from state intervention and broadcasting fee-based financing, public service media (PSM) are less affected by negative market externalities. Theoretically, this circumstance leads to advantages in the editorial selection of topics and the production of media content. An orientation towards public interest in reporting - again theoretically – open the chance of a special position of these media in creating publics, integrating diverse communities, enabling political participation and improve the acceptance of public media offerings in society. Starting from the German constitution and the current legal provisions, the project will analyse the scope and aspects of an integration-related mandate of PSM and to what extent the current public service broadcasters perform this mandate from the perspective of the population.

The project combines conceptual-theoretical fundamental research on the institutional foundations of society - its media order - with empirical studies on the conception, implementation and acceptance of "social cohesion" as a remit of PSM. Based on FGZ heuristics, the project focuses in particular on a) attitudes and opinions (affective dimension) and b) structural institutional conditions. Indirectly, findings on the presence of public service media in public (social media) discourses will also be analysed, with the result that findings on forms of collectively effective narration will also be identified.

Methods, Empirical Approach, Procedure


The project consists of five work packages. We first examine whether an integration-related remit of PSM can be discerned from constitutional provisions and the current legal framework. In doing so, we also draw on international comparisons. This integration task will be further differentiated and operationalised within the framework of the project.

Building on this, we use various empirical methods in several sub-studies to determine how the cohesion-related services of PSM and the corresponding expectations of the population can be defined and measured in the face of media and social change:
  • Interdisciplinary scientific expert workshops as well as stakeholder workshops (with PSM; citizens; relevant civil society institutions) in order to determine and continue the scope and specification of the integration-related remit of PSM;
  • Secondary analyses of data from the "Reuters Institute Digital News Survey" to determine the relevance and acceptance of PSM offerings in Germany, both longitudinal since 2013 and in international comparison (carried out in cooperation with the project "Media Use and Social Cohesion" within the FGZ);
  • Analysis of presence of PSM offerings in social media in order to determine the relevance of PSM content in cohesion-related discourses as well as their importance in the information repertoires of social media users (two-waves analysis; will be carried out using data from the project "(Social) Media Observatory" within the FGZ);
  • A quantitative representative survey to investigate user-based expectations towards PSM, especially with regard to social cohesion (carried out in cooperation with the project "What Journalists Want and What They Ought to Do” within the FGZ).

Project Information

Overview

Duration: 2020-2024

Research programme:
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society

Third party

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Cooperation Partner

Forschungsinstitutionen im Forschungsinstitut Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt

Contact person

Dr. Stephan Dreyer
Senior Researcher Media Law & Media Governance

Dr. Stephan Dreyer

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 33
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 77

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