Reforming Broadcasting in Italy’s 'Second Republic': A Study of Government Television Policies in Italy, 1994-2006
This thesis provides an analysis of television policies in Italy’s ‘Second Republic’ from March 1994, with the formation of the first Berlusconi government, to May 2006, with the end of the XIV legislature and the electoral defeat of the center-right coalition. Based on extensive documentary research, the thesis looks at four analytically distinct but closely related areas of television policy: the reform of public service broadcasting, the reform of media ownership rules, the regulation of satellite pay-TV, and plans for digital switchover. Throughout, the focus is on the way the various Italian governments which have ruled the country in the period investigated have approached these four areas, i.e., what they have decided to do or not to do, why they have decided so, and with what degree of success they have pursued their policy goals. The main theoretical question that this thesis engages with is whether or not national governments’ agenda can still be regarded as the single most important determinant of policy regime change in broadcasting, at times of technological change and convergence (in the shape of digitalization), regionalization of political authority, and global industry consolidation. The general aim of the thesis therefore is to identify the key underlying forces which have shaped actual policy outcomes in Italian television over the last 12 years and, more specifically, to assess whether or not Italian governments have retained most of their autonomy in the area of broadcasting policy.