The Media and Democracy in the Digital Era
In the mass media era, the role of the media was regarded as fundamental to the proper functioning of the democratic state: the media’s capacity to provide information freely to all citizens ensured they had equal access to the democratic process. This chapter considers certain aspects of how this role has fared as one has moved into the digital era, before considering the ‘crisis in journalism’ as among a number of factors that highlight the need for a more committed engagement – from governments, the industry, and policy-makers – with the principle of regulating the ‘reinvented media’ in the public interest. What the digital era has so far produced confirms the view that the claims for democratization and empowerment were unduly optimistic. The fundamental issue for reconfiguring the relationship between the media and democracy is how policy-makers should deal with the problem of regulating Facebook, Google, Amazon and other technology companies operating as key components of the global media economy.