CIMA Publishes Report on Media Capture Edited by Anya Schiffrin, Member of CMDS’ Advisory Board

August 18, 2017

The threats to independent journalism no longer come only from direct forms of state control. Where advocates of a vibrant public sphere once mobilized against the suppression and censorship of news, they now must also contend with the more complex challenge of media capture, the topic of a new book, In the Service of Power; Media Capture and the Threat to Democracy published by the Center for International Media Assistance and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

In this volume of essays edited by Anya Schiffrin, who has been a long-standing member of our Center’s Advisory Board, media capture is shown to be a growing phenomenon linked both to the resurgence of authoritarian governments as well as to the structural weaknesses presently afflicting media markets. In this environment, political figures and economic elites are colluding to undermine the independence of privately-owned media, and efforts to stop this collusion by activists, regulators, and the international community have proven to be ineffective. CIMA is proud to present this collection and hopes it will inspire further research and thoughtful responses to this growing threat to democracies around the world.

In her op-ed about the publication, Schiffrin writes that “just as media capture shapes public perceptions, it can also shape economic outcomes. The economist Maria Petrova argues that media capture can fuel inequality, particularly if the rich are doing the capturing (rather than politicians, who can often be voted out of office). Likewise, Giacomo Corneo of the Free University of Berlin believes that increased economic concentration makes media bias more likely.”

The book is available at the link above or in the attachment below.