The role of competition authorities in safeguarding media pluralism
Despite its fundamental value in the European Union, the EU lacks an explicit competence to regulate the media. In fact, media as a field of EU policy is absent from the Treaties and the EU’s legal instruments remain limited in this area. Nevertheless, as media also function as an important economic sector of the single market, the regulation of media markets falls under the EU’s internal market and competition law competences. In the area of competition law, the Commission has direct and exclusive competence with far-reaching supervisory powers. This paper shows that competition law in general, and merger control in particular, play an essential role in controlling and preventing the accumulation of significant economic power in the media markets. It analyses how competition authorities can safeguard competitive media markets, albeit in a more indirect way than media regulators. Their role has recently been interpreted by the EU Courts that defined important principles of what qualifies as effective competition law enforcement, which is crucial to situations in which media markets are affected by rule of law backsliding.
Médiakutató Autumn 2023 pp. 15-23 https://doi.org/10.55395/MK.2023.3.2