Master's Thesis, 2007, 83 Pages
I.1. Research Motivation
I.2. State of the Art in Research
I.3. Research Question, Methodology, Preliminary Remarks
II. The Framework
II.1. Fitting ‘European Publicity’ into a Framework
II.1.a. Sources of (European) Publicity
II.1.a.1. The Media
II.1.a.2. The Communication
II.1.b. Developing the Framework
II.1.b.1. The Actors
II.1.b.2. Types of European Publicity
II.2. Conclusion: The Publicity-Framework
III. Media Policy
III.1. A European Media System?
III.2. Development of European Media Policies
III.3. Media Concentration and Pluralism
III.4. Conclusion: The actual role of Media Policies
IV. Communication Strategy
IV.1. The Aims and Ways of Communication
IV.2. Development of the Communication Strategy
IV.3. Communicating with the Citizen?
IV.3.a. ‘Commission‘s contribution to the period of reflection and beyond: Plan-D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate’
IV.3.b. ‘White Paper on a European Communication Policy’
IV.4. Conclusion: Communication Strategy
V.1. Completing the Framework
V.2. Appraisal of Findings
V.2.a. The Influence of Media Policies on Awareness
V.2.b. The Influence of the Communication Strategy on Awareness
V.2.c. Conclusion of Appraisal
V.3.a. …for Media Policies
V.3.b. …for the Communication Strategy
V.4. Conclusion: Recommendations
Foremost I would like to thank Prof. Dr. Nico Groenendijk for supervising my thesis. His remarks, suggestions and friendly criticism were always a helpful incentive for further improvement and new approaches. I also appreciate the time Dr. Rik Reussing put into reading my work.
Furthermore I am grateful for the help of Sandra Voglreiter who enabled me to access the library of the ‘Erich-Brost-Haus’ research institute for journalism in Dortmund, which helped me to finally find a concise research topic. My preparation phase was also supported by a visit to the ‘Landesmedienforum NRW’ in Cologne, which Philip Pamme kindly suggested to me.
Moreover I appreciate and value all the time and nerves Annelene Bremer and Andrea Berghaus spent on reading and correcting my thesis.
Last but not least I am deeply grateful for all the support, motivation and re-assurances my family and friends gave me.
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Figure 1: Publicity in a Framework
Figure 2: Framework
Figure 3: TWF directive 1989
Figure 4: TWF directive revised in 1997
Figure 5: Article 11 Freedom of Expression and Information
Figure 6: The actual role of Media Policies
Figure 7: Communication Strategy Dimensions
Figure 8: Dimension of Commission’s Strategy
Figure 9: Plan D – Initiatives at the Community Level
Figure 10: White Paper on a European Information Policy
Figure 11: Framework II
Figure 12: Assessment of Recommendations
Annex 1: Meyer’s system of communication
Annex 2: Sources used for Information
Annex 3: Media Policy Competence in Commission
Annex 4: Internal Structure of DG Communication
Annex 5: Seven Strategies for Information Policy
Annex 6: Article 255 EC
Annex 7: Structure of Plan D
Annex 8: Plan D
Annex 9: Response to White Paper on a European Communication Policy
Annex 10: Degree of Europeanization
In the year of the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, and the 15th year after the (legal) creation of the European Union by the Treaty of Maastricht, European Integration slowed down considerably due to certain hindrances such as the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty, a low turnout at the last election to the European Parliament, and also the necessary revision of the main ‘future project’, the Lisbon Agenda. However, over the last 15 years we have witnessed a successful process of integration: the creation of the single European market was completed by the introduction of the common cur-rency, the Euro, and the Union has been enlarged to 27 member states.
Notwithstanding this successful story of economic integration and peace and security – one of the most importa]nt, but today often neglected attainments of the EU – the process of constant integration seems to have been too fast for the citizens of the European Union: although being legally ‘Europeans’ since 1992, the demos of the Union does not seem to feel connected to its newly gained political entity. The most recent Eurobarometer survey at the time of writing -Eurobarometer No. 67, July 2007 – revealed that on average only 57 percent of all Europeans support the membership of their country in the European Union. Also voter participation in the European Parliamentary elec-tions in 2004 was below 50 percent in almost all EU member states.
Thus, the Union suffers from considerable democracy, legitimacy and ac-countability deficits. One reason -and characteristic at the same time -is the low participation and involvement of the Europeans in the political system of the Union. This assumption is the real starting point of this work. People need to participate to a greater extent in order to gain a more democratic political system in the EU and thus lay the basis for further integration, which is needed to cope with the arising challenges of the 21st century.
According to Robert Dahl, citizens need to be aware of and informed about the political system in order to participate in a democracy in an effective way.1 This is where the democracy-problem for the EU starts: recent Euro-barometer surveys showed that knowledge about the EU, its system and its institutions is on the average quite low. Thus the citizens are not informed and therefore are not aware of the political system of the EU. Among the rea-sons for this flaw allegedly is the lack of media coverage about European topics.
The EU mainly attains media attention when there is a big EU event, as one of the most recent and broadest researches about EU media coverage showed. The objective of this ‘Adequate Information Management in Europe’2 (AIM) project was to investigate -in a comparative study involving ten countries -the impact of mass media on the emergence of (a) European public sphere(s) in empirical, theoretical, and practical dimensions. Although the results – of course – differ between the ten countries, they show that me-dia coverage about the European Union is low, which is seen as a hindrance for the emergence of a European Public Sphere.
Another term used for Public Sphere is European Publicity3 – which is the aiming point of this thesis. But what is meant by it? Within the AIM research European Publicity was limited to media coverage about European topics. This definition of publicity has the advantage that it provides a basis for measurement: the quality and quantity of news about the European Union determines the level of European Publicity. This approach is one of the most common used ones in this field of research. However, as will be explained in detail in Chapter II of this thesis European Publicity must be regarded as a broader concept that also involves for example discourse and communication about European issues. Together they are the sources for European Publicity and allegedly the level of it has an influence on the citizens’ awareness of the European Union.
This interlinkage can also be further supported by the AIM research. Despite its too limited definition, the results still suggest a reason for the low level of citizens’ participation in the EU. If there is a lack of European Publicity with regard to media coverage about European issues; the level of awareness is considerably low. Accordingly people are not informed and cannot participate effectively; the EU suffers from a democratic deficit, and people reject the EU as a whole and show their discomfort for example by voting against the Con-stitutional Treaty. Therefore the institutions within the EU framework must engage in activities that raise the awareness of the citizens about the EU.
In the institutional framework of the EU there is a variety of actors involved not only in decision making but also in communication processes. The Euro-pean Parliament is the institution of the citizens and the Councils (both the Council of Ministers and the European Council) represent the interests of the member states. However, the European Commission can be seen as the European institution in the EU framework.
Also called the ‘Guardian of the Treaties’, the Commission is the institution that has the most European perspective in its activities. Furthermore the Commission in Brussels is the head of a decentralised communication body with delegations in all member countries. These delegations are among the main channels of communication between the EU and for example journalists in the member states. Moreover the Commission issues most press releases. Therefore it is chosen as the relevant actor in this thesis. However, raising the awareness of the citizens is not an easy task, but still the Commission has at least two opportunities.
Obviously European Publicity cannot just be created for example by simply regulating media content. Media is a communication device between the Multi-Level-Governance system and the citizens; by top-down and bottom-up communication publicity emerges, which is as explained above a requisite for awareness. However, the relation among media coverage and publicity is difficult to influence by the European Commission.4 Foremost, because the freedom of the press is one of the most important democratic rights that is always protected by the highest barriers in a democracy. Therefore the Commission – fortunately – has no direct impact on the content of the media. However, it has different impacts on publicity; and therefore on the aware-ness of the citizens: by its Media Policies and by its Communication Strategy. Why these two examples are chosen will be explained in the following. Later in this opening chapter a presentation of the research related state of the art will further support the argumentation that led to this choice. Finally this dis-cussion will lead to the setting up of the research design of this thesis.
In the first place, Media Policies must be included because television and print media are still the primary sources of information for the Europeans, as recent Eurobarometer data suggests. The European Commission is the main actor in issuing media policies in the European Union. However, media poli-cies basically remain in the hands of the member states. Jurisdiction about media policy is regarded as one of the most important national competences, because it is often regarded as part of cultural policies, and more important, the media system is perceived as part of the cultural identity of a country. Thus, cultural policies and most media policies remain at the member state level. But still the European Commission exercises its market competences for example by controlling monopolies and thus supporting media diversity. Hence, the European Union (and its Commission) sets the framework in which media operate.
Media policy by the EU began in the 1980s on the initiative of the European Parliament. The aim was to connect the citizens to the Union. However, this goal was not really reached. First attempts to create a European type of me-dia such as Europe TV failed. Still it was the starting point for European me-dia policies. The Television without Frontiers directive was the first regulative outcome of European Media Policies. It can still be seen as the most impor-tant European media policy instrument and one that also influences media content to a certain extent. The directive was created in order to set up com-mon rules for advertising, the protection of minors and to secure a minimum share of European productions on European screens.
Since this regulative start of media policies the attitude and aims changed. The most recent developments in media policies are related to the buzzword ‘Information Society’. Under this label media policies are redirected to cope with technological innovations and also the convergence of the media. So far the so called media revolution – especially with regard to the developments in information and communication technologies – has not really been taken into account in the research about EU media policies.
The real starting point of the activities related to the information society was the adoption of the i2010 initiative (European Information Society 2010) in June 2005. It is built around three policy priorities: (1) creating an open and competitive single market for information society and media services within the EU, (2) increasing EU investment in research on information and com-munication technologies (ICT) by 80 percent, (3) promoting an inclusive European information society to close the gap between the information soci-ety ‘haves and have nots’.
After the adoption the responsible Commissioner for ‘Information Society and Media’, Viviane Reding, gave herself 18 months of time to review the current media policies. This period is now over and changes have been made espe-cially with regard to the audiovisual content and telecommunications direc-tives. At the time of writing the directives are either just adopted by the EP or will be adopted soon. The new regulations are the current ‘hot topics’ in me-dia politics.
However, the described field of media policies is too broad for full coverage in this context. Therefore the main focus of this work will be in the first place on the development of media policies in general in order to assess the impor-tance of the Commission’s role. In the second place the elaborations will fo-cus on the Commission’s role in the field of media concentration and plural-ism. This focus is chosen because it is the field in which the Commission might have its strongest competences related to the internal market and as pluralism of media is the most obvious impact on democracy, because of the need of plurality of sources of information.
The second field in which the Commission has an influence on publicity is where it creates information, communication and discourse itself: its own Communication Strategy. In the first years of the Commission’s existence the public was basically neglected. Although first attempts to include it into the work of the European Union were already made in the end of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s, communication by the Commission really started for the first time after the Danes had rejected the Maastricht Treaty -so, about 15 years after the first elections for the people’s representation in the Union, the EP, and also after the legal creation of the citizenship in the same treaty that was rejected in Denmark in 1992.
After the first attempts by a single Commissioner Joao Deus Pinheiro, the first Commission with a concise communication strategy was the Santer-Commission (1995-1999). Unfortunately the Commission had to resign due to corruption and fraud incidences, which is of course highly contradicting an open type of communication. The Prodi-Commission (1999-2004) tried to increase communication but also did not really succeed. The responsible commissioner of the current Barroso-Commission for the Communication Strategy, Margot Wallström (Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy), issued a new campaign called “Plan D, for Dialogue, Debate and Democracy” in 2005. The aim of this strategy was to facilitate public debate about the European Union and was supposed to be the contribution of the Commission for the “time of reflection”, as the period of stagnation after the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty is called officially.
This strategy is supplemented by a White Paper (calling for a new communi-cation policy) that was released in February 2006. It called for the contribu-tions of different institutions, the public and the civil society. Besides other aims the White Paper has the following priorities: strengthening the role of the citizens for example by an increase in political education; and a combined attempt to work together with media and the usage of new technologies.
Thus Plan D and the related White Paper are the most recent and more gen-eral communication strategies and therefore will be the focus of the commu-nication strategy part of this thesis; besides the general development of the role of the Commission.
Research about European Publicity and the Commission’s role for it can ba-sically be divided into three different aspects and research interests: political science concerned with the democratic aspects of publicity; legal relevance of media policies; and communication studies related to the communication strategy. However, this research will combine all three. This is why there is no literature covering the same topic. The outcome will neither be a different view in contrast to a given author nor the rejection of the view of someone else. Still a lot has been written about the different parts of this research, as will be presented in the following.
Until the late 1990s integration research about the European Union was not concerned with processes about communication, publicity and awareness. However, since the rejection of the Maastricht Treaty by the citizens of Den-mark in 1992 this inaction started to change. Since that time and increasingly at the time of writing of this thesis various works deal with publicity.
However, research about publicity is mainly done from a highly normative angle or in a comparative style, such as the AIM research. But publicity shall be used in this thesis as a broader positive analytical framework as explained in Chapter II of this thesis. Therefore this section will neglect the literature about publicity, but will further explain why different aspects of media policies and the communication strategy are chosen.
Research on the Media Policy
The work of a variety of authors shows that research about media policies mainly focuses on audiovisual broadcasting, media concentration and state aid, because these are the central fields of media policy related action of the European Commission. For example print media are not really within the scope of European media policies, because their scope of distribution most likely remains at a national, regional or even local level -in contrast to TV or radio broadcasts. The European Union was founded as an economic coop-eration; competition policies are Europeanized and even legally confirmed in Treaty Articles 81 and 82 EC. Therefore media concentration and state aid must be central to the media policy regulative work of the Commission.
One author working on media policies is Christina Holtz-Bacha. In her book “Medienpolitik für Europa” she shows the chronological development of Euro-pean media policies and discusses the prospects for the emergence of a European Publicity.5 Her normative starting point is that the European Union needs the intermediation function of mass media in order to get the support of its citizens. Media can provide information about the EU and at the same time have a function of control and criticism. Her non-normative argumenta-tion is mainly based on a legal point of view; besides describing the actors of media policy she explains also the basis provided by European Law.
Although pluralism and media concentration are the chief interest for law re-lated research, also some political scientists such as Gillian Doyle express their views about this topic. She concludes that the Commission’s long stand-ing record of inaction on the question of media concentrations and pluralism is unlikely to change any time soon, due to the inability to enforce initiatives against the rejection of the member states.6
Another example of academic research on media policies is David Ward’s book “The European Union Democratic Deficit and the Public Sphere: An Evaluation of EU Media Policy”.7 His work has a broader political science focus than the ones of Doyle or Holtz-Bacha, because he links media policy and publicity. He argues that in order to be successful the EU must overcome its democratic deficit by using mass media. Because of this, media is a public interest and must therefore be regulated by the nation states and the EU.
Ward argues that the European Union is active in three fields of media poli-cies: broadcasting; pluralism and media concentration; and state aid and public service broadcasting. By describing the nature of EU media policies he explains the linkage between democracy, media and citizenship. His main focus is the impact of media policies on the public sphere and the implica-tions for the knowledge deficit of the Europeans.
Besides those legal and political perspectives on media policies, a different research strand is related to economic considerations. For example Alison Harcourt assesses the implication of media policies for the economy in Europe.8 She analyses the prospects for jobs and growth and also related to the competitive power vis-à-vis the United States.
The most recent discussion about European media policy is about media convergence. So far not much has been written about the results of the i2010 initiative and the other activities related to the so called Information Society, because the resulting directives are just in the final stage of adoption. How-ever, the new developments have been discussed by politicians, media rep-resentatives and researchers at a variety of events.
Among them is the “Medienforum NRW” that took place between the 18th and 20th of June in Cologne. The responsible Commissioner, Viviane Reding, held a speech at the forum in which she outlined her ideas for the current media policies of the Commission. The recent debate can be summarised in the question if media services are an economic or a cultural good and is therefore in the core nothing new. Especially new regulations in the field of frequency distributions have been discussed highly controversial. Some au-thors and media representatives claim that the Commission treats the media in a biased way: content shall be a cultural good, but broadcasting an eco-nomic good. But this debate is not new, as an article by Mark Wheeler about the Television without Frontiers directive shows.9
Research on the Communication Strategy
Academic research in this field mainly aims at the development of the com-munication strategy. Starting with the so called “Pinheiro-Concept”, at the time of the rejection of the Maastricht Treaty, until today, each Commission had its own strategy. Of course a variety of actors are involved and the ‘mes-sage’ is received by different recipients. This complex interaction is for ex-ample analysed by Kirsten Hoesch by applying the ‘Laswell-Formula’ (Who says what to whom on which channel with what effect?) to the communica- tion strategy of the Commission.10
In most times each new strategy was regarded as panacea against the disin-terest of the Europeans. For example Tanja Loitz describes the different re-forms and assesses the cleavage between claims and reality.11 However, her research is too old to include new attempts by the Commission such as Plan D. The same applies for a lot of critiques vis-à-vis the Commission’s commu-nication strategy, such as Jürgen Gerhards.12 He claims that the communica-tion orientation of the Commission suffers from a structural deficit, because the Commissioners are not elected, but only need the support of the member states’ governments.
Suggestions how to improve the communication of the EU are manifold; one example is the inclusion of communication policies in the Treaties. Hans Brunmayr assesses the need for a European Information Policy.13 He argues that information is often used only to defend the interests of the institutions and not to satisfy the Europeans. The citizens are left outside of the decision making process and the communication structure is thus perceived as only emitting bureaucratic measures. He demands that communication processes should be better coordinated and increasingly focussed on the citizens. Brunmayr rejects the idea of including communication policies in the Treaties, but he asks for a change in attitude of all actors.
One of the problems of the Commission’s communication strategy is decen-tralisation. Each member state of the European Union has an own delegation of the Commission. And although each of them tries to further the same poli-cies, the communicated output often differs according to the national sur-rounding, as comparative research such as the one by Stephan Große Rüschkamp shows.14 Therefore the research in this Master Thesis will focus on the work of the Commission as a whole, represented by its headquarter in Brussels.
Another problem is the variety of different issue oriented communication strategies. Not only the work and output of the EU is communicated, but also certain campaigns are tailored towards different issues (for example the Euro introduction campaign analysed by Ingo Rollwagen)15 or recipients (for ex-ample the youth). Therefore it is necessary to focus the research on a certain campaign, which is Plan D and the White Paper in this case, because they are more general approaches towards the Communication Strategy.
Barabara Tham’s research is directed in a similar direction.16 She criticises that the efforts made in the two campaigns are nothing new and that their implementation is difficult. However, Tham praises the efforts that shall be made for an increase in the level of political education and awareness. Still, this field remains within the competences of the member states. But, Tham neglects that just the discussion about such topics might be able to generate some level of European Publicity. Thus, this is what will be analysed in this thesis – keeping Tham’s criticism in mind.
The aim of this research is to elaborate on the following explanatory main research question
Main Research Question
How can the Commission’s activities related to European Publicity raise the awareness of the citizens about the EU?
This question is on the one hand aimed at the normative assumption that a higher level of publicity about the EU is needed to integrate the citizens into the Union to a larger extent. On the other hand the question aims at the clearly positive, empirical perspective that analyses the actual activities of the Commission related to European Publicity. As the state of the art presentation has shown, both analytical angles, normative and empirical, are closely interrelated and therefore cannot be disconnected from each other. Therefore they are both included in this research, but for reasons of clarity separated in different parts of the thesis.
The objectives of the research are (1) Integrate a definition of European Pub-licity into a framework about the interaction between the Commission, the media and the citizens; (2) Analyse the actual impact of Commission’s media policies on publicity and test them against the framework; (3) Analyse the actual impact of Commission’s communication strategy on publicity and test it against the framework; (4) Summarise the impact of the activities on aware-ness and draw recommendations how to strengthen European Publicity, and thus citizens’ awareness, from the Commission’s perspective.
The main methodology of this research is an analysis of the developments according to scientific articles and official documents. As the state of the art presentation has shown there is a considerable amount of written articles about the different topics of this work. However, this research is the attempt to combine different approaches in order to draw conclusions with regard to European Publicity. Furthermore directives, official speeches by Commis-sioner’s and other Commission data will be used for further support in the fields of media policies and the communication strategy.
The analysis will offer the information needed to answer the following sub-questions that derive from the main research question and also from the mo-tivation of the research:
1. What is meant by European Publicity in the context of citizens’ aware-ness about the EU?
In Chapter II it will be explained what European Publicity means in the con-text of this research. At first two different sources of European Publicity will be described, before the framework will be developed. The approach towards publicity will be a positive, non-normative one, because the definition is the base for the analytical framework that also will be developed under this head-ing. The framework will be used in the following sub-questions to analyse the impact of a certain activity on publicity.
2. What is the actual role of the Commission’s media policies (related to media concentration and pluralism) for European Publicity?
Chapter III will at first try to assess whether there is a European Media Sys-tem or not. After that the development of European media policies starting
with the television directive in 1989 until the most recent Information Society related activities will be analysed. And finally the possible effect on European Publicity will be analysed with special regard to media concentration and plu-ralism.
3. What is the actual role of the Commission’s communication strategy (related to Plan D and the White Paper) for European Publicity?
The main focus of Chapter IV will be the changing attitude of the Commission towards Communication. Therefore a model will be presented that will help to analyse the change. After that a short summary of the development of the Communication Strategy will be given, followed by a discussion of the role of the most recent activities (Plan D and White Paper) on publicity.
4. How can the citizens’ awareness about the EU be raised by these ac-tivities or are other measures needed?
Chapter V will first extent the framework to the aspects about awareness, and then relate the results from the previous chapters to this new part of the framework. Furthermore recommendations based on these results will be given about how to increase the awareness.
European Publicity (or to be more exact: the level of European Publicity) is the focal point of the analytical framework used in this thesis. Unfortunately there is no simple measurable definition of European Publicity.17 Some au-thors even “tended to conclude that a European public sphere neither ex-isted, nor could come into existence for any foreseeable future based on the observation that there is no common European ‘nation’ or common European political community displaying the same trademarks as are commonly asso-ciated with the nation: historical connectedness, tangling of the destiny of the individual and the destiny of the nation, cultural homogeneity and not least language uniformity“18. However, rejecting the idea of European Publicity based on pillars related to nation states might be a bit short-sighted, because so far there does not exist anything like the European Union anywhere else as a unit of comparison, but still it exists. Therefore it is at least possible -and also necessary for the research -to explain what is meant by publicity in this context.
Because of the vagueness of the term, a variety of different authors have tried to describe publicity. They argue around three different perspectives: publicity as a place for communication of different actors; a normative view on publicity as a requirement for democracy; and a perspective on publicity that is determined by the media.19 All perspectives share the idea that publicity can be everything that enables communication processes between differ-ent actors in a system, which is of course again rather vague. This chapter will be used to narrow the concept of publicity towards a workable definition, thus answer the first sub-question: What is meant by European Publicity in the context of citizens’ awareness about the EU?
As indicated above (European) Publicity is most often a vague and broad concept: it includes communication, discourse, media coverage, education and so forth. The definition of European publicity that will be used in this the-sis is based on two different sources: the European media system and com-munication with regard to European issues. Why these two are chosen is explained in the following.
“The media filter and frame everyday realities through their singular and mul-tiple representations, producing touchstones, references for the conduct of everyday life, for the production and maintenance of common sense.”20
This quotation by Lilie Chouliarki describes why media contributes to the emergence and or existence of publicity.21 Media is able to distribute infor-mation and reproduces news and other types of information. Therefore media is regarded in the model -that will be developed later in this chapter -as the central communication device. By this interaction publicity emerges.
Surveys such as the Eurobarometer show that media has major significance for the citizens in order to gather information about the European Union, al-though media usage differs considerably. “Seven out of ten Europeans watch television to obtain information about the European Union (70%), just over four out of ten citizens get their information from daily newspapers (41%) and just over three out of ten citizens listen to the radio (31%) when they look for information about the European Union.”22
The role of the media for publicity in an EU-context is best examined by aca-demic circles with regard to newspapers. They “produce every day pictures of the political reality, which frame our perception of this political world […] they don’t say what one has to think about the EU, but when and why one has to think about it”23. For instance the above mentioned Adequate Informa tion Management in Europe (AIM) research project at the Erich-Brost-Haus for European Journalism at the University of Dortmund analysed this interac-tion. It investigated “the media's impact on the European public sphere with regard to actors (media institutions and organisations on European, national, regional, and local levels, as well as journalists, correspondents and editors, etc.) and mechanisms (EU news management processes)”24.
However, most of these attempts revealed that the EU is not seen as eye-catching information. The Commission is not able to change the media con-tent because of the democratic principle of the ‘freedom of the press’. Never-theless, it is evident that media is a central source of publicity. How media in each member state and also in the EU operates in a legal framework set by a member state and is increasingly influenced by the European Union will be explained in Chapter III.
The second source of publicity is communication as starting point for Euro-pean discourse which means the debate about European topics. Before there can be discourse some sort of communication is needed between different actors. Moreover, the final aim of communication by institutional actors is providing information which in the end can lead to policy communication.25
Thus analysing communication processes will lead to conclusions about the impact on publicity; this will be done in Chapter IV.
Prior to further assessment of communication as a source of publicity some terms must be clarified. The terms ‘discourse’, ‘communication’, ‘information’ and ‘public relations’ are used in the literature with similar meanings, some-times even involving each other as this example by Brüggemann shows:
“Information policy is comprised of three elements: The first one con-cerns rights and practical questions of access to information and documents which is basically discussed in the EU under the label of transparency. The second strand is professional public relations: strategic communication efforts on behalf of e.g. the Commission which may partly be outsourced to commercial PR agencies. A third source of public information and opinion are political rhetorics, i.e. the communicative activity of the political management floor of the Commission”26
Furthermore communication in this context can mean anything including speeches, policies or even the websites of the Commission. At the time of writing the term “Communication Policy” was introduced into the EU lan-guage, before there was a strategy for information and communication; and also the related DG was renamed from DG Press to DG Communication.27 Thus, in this work the terms will be used in a similar overlapping meaning. But in most cases communication will be regarded as everything that is publicised by the commission, whether it is a speech or a policy. Information is used as a term to describe the content that is provided by the process of communication and also includes online content. But central is the strategy behind both, which will be called “Communication Strategy” in most cases.
Closely related to discourse is what is often described as ‘public sphere’. Generally descriptions and definitions of the public sphere are similar to what is meant in this context by EU-wide publicity. The most important concept of a public sphere was developed by the German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas28 already in 1962 in his influential book “The Structural transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society”29.
In the tradition of Kant’s Enlightment he related transformation processes in the French society from the feudal to the bourgeois society to the changes in the public sphere. Habermas considered “the concept [of a public sphere] as an arena within which a set of ideas, opinions and public concerns are dis-cussed and developed through a deliberative process, which should gradually produce consent over time.”30
Thus, Habermas ideas can be related to publicity as a place for communica-tion about European issues. “While competing conceptualisations of what constitutes a public sphere exist, one can best describe it as a ‘space’ within which citizens, civil society organisations and political actors publicly debate issues of common concern.“31 This idea about publicity is closely related to transnational communication, which means communication between different national public spheres.32
Thus, the second source of publicity is communication as a requisite for European discourse.
So, in conclusion European Publicity derives from two sources, media and communication. What their relevance is to the framework will be described in the following.
1 Dahl, 2000.
2 AIM, 2006.
3 Both terms are used in the academic literature. In this work publicity is used in most cases, but sometimes public sphere is used with the same meaning, scope and content.
4 The approach of analysing the role of media coverage for publicity has been the focus of Cosse, 2005, unpublished.
5 Holtz-Bacha, 2006.
6 Doyle, 2007.
7 Ward, 2002.
8 Harcourt, 2005.
9 Wheeler, 2007.
10 Hoesch, 2003.
11 Loitz, 2001.
12 Gerhards, 2000.
13 Brunmayr, 2000.
14 Große Rüschkamp, 2000.
15 Rollwagen, 2000.
16 Tham, 2006.
17 Of course, theoretical assumptions about publicity could fill books and a discussion about the meaning of publicity can start with basic assumptions about communication processes between people, or also at the time of the transformation of the old Greek „Agora“ type of democracy to modern mass democracies that require mass communication (Cosse, 2005, unpublished). Such basic aspects of publicity are left aside in this work.
18 Esmark, 2005, p.1. These authors like Esmark are described by Brüggemann as the „Impossibility School“. Representatives of this school try to apply national models of publicity to the multi-level-governance system of the EU. They come to the conclusion that a European Public Sphere or European Publicity cannot exist, because of the lack of a common lan-guage, media, civil society, identity, and so on. For more details compare Brüggemann, 2005.
19 Baerns & Raupp, 2000.
20 Chouliarki, 2005, p.276. Chouliarki also links the role of the media to the constructivist’s view of language. Constructivists argue that the world as a whole is socially constructed and not given. Media constructs the reality by a certain usage of words and the filtering of news. For more information on the Constructivist theory of International Relations see Baylis & Smith, 2001.
21 As shown in Cosse, 2005, unpublished, media also has a direct impact on legitimacy of a political system. The three dimensions of liberal-democratic legitimacy (legality, normative justifiability and legitimation; identified by Beetham & Lord, 1998) are directly influenced by the media. Either in a minor way, when media is only a source of information, or in a strong way, when media is a precondition for the factors of democracy of effective participation and enlightened understanding (Dahl, 2000). However, because Chapter II and III shall be con-ducted in a non-normative approach, these considerations about democratic theory are left aside for the moment. Nevertheless, the role for media in this respect shall not be underes-timated.
22 European Commission, 2005, p. 114.
23 Hubé, unpublished, p. 1.
24 Erich Brost Haus: http://www.brost.org/index.php?text=96, visited at 17 July 2007.
25 This assumption is mainly based on democracy theory elaborated in more detail in Cosse, 2005, unpublished. For the purpose of this paper it is only necessary to know that the level, type and way of communication has a direct influence on the citizens’ EU perception and also involvement and thus on the level of publicity.
26 Brüggemann, 2005, p. 9
27 Kurpas, Brüggemann & Meyer, 2006.
28 Habermas’ work about publicity is among the most influential descriptions of publicity/ the public sphere – especially since its translation into English in the early 1980s. Habermas also made the connection between publicity and mass media and argued that there is a commercialisation of the public discourse. This is one of the reasons he is also criticised from a variety of other authors. But still a reference to Habermas’ concept of the public sphere can be found in most articles about (European) publicity, or the (European) public sphere, or transnational communication. However, Habermas’ argumentation is largely based on the theoretical insights of social theory (he is also one of the most important think-ers of the Frankfurt School). Therefore his assumptions on the whole are not applicable and too far-reaching for this thesis.
29 Habermas, 1962. Here the title is only translated into English. The book was for the first time translated into English by Thomas Burgen and Frederick Lawrence in 1989.
30 Habermas cited according to Bee, 2006, p.7.
31 Kurpas, Brüggemann & Meyer, 2006, p. 2.
32 Brüggemann, 2005.
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