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Journalists and Media Accountability

An International Study of News People in the Digital Age


Edited By Susanne Fengler, Tobias Eberwein, Gianpietro Mazzoleni and Colin Porlezza

Media accountability is back on the political agenda. Debates about the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World have shown that the need for free and responsible journalism is more pressing than ever. Opinions, however, differ on the measures that need to be taken. Do existing structures of media accountability – such as press councils, codes of ethics, and ombudspersons – suffice, or do we urgently need new instruments and initiatives in today’s converging media world?
These questions were tackled in an international survey of 1,800 journalists in twelve European and two Arab states conducted by the EU-funded research project, «Media Accountability and Transparency in Europe» (MediaAcT). The results provide a solid empirical basis for the discussions taking place. This book advances research on media accountability and transparency, and also offers innovative perspectives for newsrooms, media policy-makers, and journalism educators. Its systematic comparative design makes it an unprecedented venture in international journalism studies.
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10. ‘Cultures of Accountability’—or Global Trends in Media Accountability? The Hallin and Mancini Model Revisited: Gianpietro Mazzoleni & Sergio Splendore



Chapter 10

‘Cultures of Accountability’—or Global Trends in Media Accountability? The Hallin and Mancini Model Revisited

Gianpietro Mazzoleni & Sergio Splendore1

In his detailed account of “journalistic culture” Örnebring (2009) states that in the field of journalism studies “culture does not have as much explanatory value as other factors”. Scholars commonly used other factors, such as political systems, education systems or hiring procedures. Örnebring also observes that Hallin and Mancini (2004) “implicitly deal with cultural factors” though they rarely use the word culture.

Since their publication there have been several efforts to go beyond Hallin and Mancini. The most significant result has been adding countries previously not included or some new aspects2 to the model. The MediaAcT study does both of these things. A similar attempt has been made by Baldi and Hasebrink (2007) who used the Hallin and Mancini model to analyze the quality of public discourse about broadcasting for their study on viewer participation in public broadcasting across Europe.

What the MediaAcT study identifies as media accountability instruments (MAIs) play a marginal role, if any, in Hallin and Mancini’s analysis. Their ← 167 | 168 → reflection does not go beyond giving account to the existence of press councils in the various countries as an indicator of journalistic professionalism. The few research studies on media accountability have been characterized by a focus on the Western European and Anglo-Saxon countries which have a high degree and long tradition of journalistic professionalism,...

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