Vol.1, No.2 | [Articles] Social Responsibility of the Media: The Italian Media under Berlusconi


This paper looks into the concept of the ‘social responsibility’ of media and to explore the contaminated media-politics relationship in Italy under Berlusconi. Social responsibility theory points out, without being independent from the government and capital, the media cannot implement watchdog duty for public interest. The freedom of expression is a right to be shared by every member of the society, it should not be monopolized by the media. The idea that the media should not have monopoly over freedom of expression is a critical element in discussions about the media responsibility. Over the past 15 years, with the acceleration of capitalism, the media has been stripped of its potential, and has gradually ceased to function as a counterpower. Real power is now in the hands of a few media groupings and conglomerates. Berlusconi’s Italy can be an exemplary case of this new situation, in which media corporations are running rampant and openly operating as guard-dogs of the established political order: a new force operating against the people and civil society. In Italy, freedom of a media owner and his private economic and media interests is a potential threat to freedom of expression and to social responsibility of the media.