Explaining the De Facto Independence of Public Broadcasters

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Authors Chris Hanretty
Journal/Conference Name BRITISH JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Institutions operating beyond direct control of government, such as central banks, constitutional courts and public broadcasters, enjoy guarantees of de jure independence, but de jure independence is no guarantee of de facto independence. This is especially so for public broadcasting, where cultural variables are often assumed to be decisive. In this article, the de jure and de facto independence of thirty-six public service broadcasters world-wide are operationalized, and de jure independence is found to explain a high degree of de facto independence when account is taken of the size of the market for news. Other variables considered in previous literature – such as bureaucratic partisanship and the polarization of the party system – are not found to be significant.
Date of publication 2010
Code Programming Language R
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