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Methodology

Each national team defined their sample of outlets and organisations based on relevance for opinion shaping. Relevance is understood in terms of consumption (market share) and/or agenda setting (citation and/or recommendation by further news services).

Data was collected from publicly available sources. As public sources, we consider information that can be accessed by any person, for free or behind a paywall, in the following sources:

  • Media outlet and company websites
  • Company registers and reports
  • Reports by national regulatory authorities (NRAs) or similar public bodies
  • Press
  • Publicly available research

For the country reports and risk assessments, data may also come from interviews with stakeholders (media owners and managers, editors-in-chief, journalists, union representatives, NRA representatives, media experts and researchers).

The most important information about the outlets concerns the beneficial ownership. According to the best governance practices of the OECD countries, companies should make public the relevant natural persons behind the legal structure, which are called beneficial owners (see Inter-American Development Bank & Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2019). In the EurOMo, each national team decided the relevant threshold for natural persons owning media-related companies, but we strived for including all owners with at least 5% of shareholdings. The calculation is based on information available in the public sources mentioned above.

Example: if the TV channel “News Max” is published by “Media Company A”, this is 50% owned by “Company B”, which in turn is 50% owned by “John Person”, this means that “John Person” is a beneficial owner of “News Max” owning 25% of the outlet. 

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Beyond the legal ownership, we collect and assess information on:

  • Cross-market operation of media companies
  • Non-media ownership participation
  • Management of outlets (CEO, managing director, general director, Geschäftsführer or similar position)
  • Editorial responsibility
  • Political affiliation and relations
  • Size of staff
  • Market share
  • Funding and revenues
  • Councils and statutes shielding newsrooms from ownership influence
  • Impact of distribution channels (print, broadcasting and online)
  • News use in non-linear distribution channels (e.g., search engines and social media, which use algorithms to up and down-rank content, including news)
  • Curation criteria and commercial arrangements (in the case of algorithmic distribution)
  • Legal framework (laws governing relevant aspects of transparency in media ownership and control)
  • Operation of National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs)
  • Enforcement and sanctions

Reference

Inter-American Development Bank & Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2019). A beneficial ownership implementation toolkit. Inter-American Development Bank. https://doi.org/10.18235/0001711

Research Consortium