Control Over Predominating Power of Opinion – Idea and Reality
One of the central goals of public media law is to prevent predominating power of opinion. All the more surprising that there is little consensus as to what it means.
The concept of “predominant power of opinion” from Article 26 of the State Broadcasting Treaty is a key element for ensuring diversity in broadcasting law. If one takes a closer look, however, it is quite uncertain what this concept means. What kinds of opinions? Which forms of influence could be seen as an exercise of power’? And is it even possible that shifts in the public opinion could be interpreted as a ‘predominance’ of a single company? Is it only about opinions on relevant topics for society and, if so, how are these to be determined? When does someone have power over it? And can the system of public opinion formation shift so that someone has a “predominant” influence? The Institute aims to address these basic questions in a project – as a prerequisite for efforts to adapt the regulatory approach to the challenges arising from media convergence. The concept of 'predominant power of opinion' is central for ensuring diversity in broadcasting law.
Answering these questions is an urgent matter because not only does traditional media gain more and more power in the process of opinion formation but also actors that control algorithms or offer services, which are based on “artificial intelligence” such as search engines. These new forms of internet-based communication can only be taken into account by using the construct of 'markets, which are relevant to the media'.
This fundamental research project on answering the questions mentioned above is currently in the phase of concept development.
Research programme: RP1 - Transformation of Public Communication