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Working Paper No. 198. Freedom of Speech, the Market for Ideas and the Issue of Ownership and Concentration in the Newspaper Sector

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Företagandets villkor, Per-Olof Bjuggren
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Abstract

The newspaper sector has a key role in a democratic state. The freedom to express ideas as well as pluralism in the supply of ideas, are fundamental to a democratic society. In many countries the constitution prevents government from regulating the market for ideas since Antitrust laws and Competition Acts cannot be used to the same extent as in other markets. This paper will look more closely at the impact of ownership and concentration on performance in the Swedish newspaper sector and discuss if there is a clash between freedom of ideas and efficient performance in the media sector. Sweden offers an interesting case for two reasons. Firstly, there are different types of ownership categories and firm types that play important roles within the media sector. Secondly, the Swedish government has recently begun investigating whether the Competition Act can be applied to halt or slow down the concentration of media ownership. The purpose is to apply economic theory to the discussion of freedom of speech and ownership concentration, a discussion which is generally dominated by other disciplines.

Bjuggren, P-O. & Bohman, H. (2012). Freedom of Speech, the Market for Ideas and the Issue of Ownership and Concentration in the Newspaper Sector. Ratio Working Paper No. 198.


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