Project description

Facing the Coordination Challenge: Problems, Policies, and Politics in Media and Communication Regulation

See the complete research plan here.


The increasing role of the European Union is often seen to strengthen the market-oriented approaches in media policy. According to many analysts, EU policy is biased towards “negative integration”, which means that media policy debates have largely been framed in terms of market liberalisation and competition instead of market correcting measures. Supranational regulation has been viewed as one of the main drivers of the shift from public service oriented regulation to a model of free market doctrine and commercialisation of media in Europe.

The background of the project is on the emerging European policy paradigm of media and communications policy-making on the one hand, and its impacts on the Finnish national media systems and their institutional foundations on the other hand. Much of the existing research tends to neglect the role of economic and cultural factors, including the size of national markets, as factors contributing to the in media and communications policy. This research project analyses the changing relationship between the pragmatic and the normative through the emergence and transfer of ideas on the policy agenda by applying the policy streams approach to the study of media and communications policy-making and legislation in Finland.

Previous empirically oriented research has focused mainly on transformations of media policy in a national context, whereas analyses employing broader communication perspectives are relatively scarce. Extensive and systematic analyses of the influence of European level policy on national media policies largely remain missing, as does a theoretical and methodological framework for reflecting on the different national approaches and the problems of coordinating different levels of media and communications policy-making. Moreover, attempts at comparative projects have so far had no contributions by Finnish researchers.

The main research questions of the project are: (1) How and to what degree European media and communication policies and regulations have influenced or been adopted in national legislation and policy programs in Finland? (2) What evidence is there to support the policy paradigm shift thesis, and in which domains or areas and at which point did the appropriate windows open? (3) What elements or measures can be identified in Finnish media and communication policy as specifically targeted at meeting the challenges of coordinating regulation and legislation?

Organizing the research into case studies allows the integration of various methodological approaches into the analysis (quantitative and qualitative content analysis of policy documents, media content, and interviews) and analysis of existing research. Research material includes laws, legislative documents, policy papers, governmental programs, national news media content, and interviews of key actors in policy formation. The project has started 1 September 2011 and will be concluded by 31 Agust 2015.