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Government Control of the Media

Scott Gehlbach () and Konstantin Sonin ()
Additional contact information
Scott Gehlbach: University of Wisconsin, Madison - Department of Political Science

No w0126, Working Papers from Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR)

Abstract: We present a formal model of government control of the media to illuminate variation in media freedom across countries and over time, with particular application to less democratic states. The extent of media freedom depends critically on two variables: the mobilizing character of the government and the size of the advertising market. Media bias is greater and state ownership of the media more likely when the need for mobilization is large; however, the distinction between state and private media is smaller. Large advertising markets reduce media bias in both state and private media, but increase the incentive for the government to nationalize private media. We illustrate these arguments with a case study of media freedom in postcommunist Russia, where media bias has responded to the mobilizing needs of the Kremlin and government control over the media has grown in tandem with the size of the advertising market.

Keywords: Media; special-interest politics; nondemocratic politics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L82 L10 D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cis and nep-cul
Date: 2008-12
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http://www.cefir.ru/papers/WP126.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Government control of the media (2014) Downloads
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