Journalists’ Autonomy around the Globe: A Typology of 46 Mass Media Systems


  • Michael Meyen University of Munich



mass media systems, comparative research, documentary analysis, expert interviews, typology


Using structuration theory, assuming that every government has a stake in steering public communication and comparing 46 nation-states, this paper explores the major principles that can be used to explain different mass media structures around the globe. The study draws on extensive documentary analysis and includes more than 150 expert interviews. It shows that media freedom and journalists’ autonomy depend on not only the particular governmental system, the constitution, journalism education, and the existence of commercial media but also, to a significant extent, on economic realities, the tradition of press freedom, and various other factors that are historical, religious, and/or geographic. The tool to do so is a mass media system typology based on two dimensions: formal expectations and the state’s influence.

Author Biography

Michael Meyen, University of Munich

Michael Meyen is professor of communication at the University of Munich. His research interests include mass media freedom, mass media systems, media discourses, journalism, media logic and medialization, the history of media, journalism and communication (with a certain focus on the GDR) and the history of communication research.




How to Cite

Meyen, M. (2018). Journalists’ Autonomy around the Globe: A Typology of 46 Mass Media Systems. Global Media Journal - German Edition, 8(1).



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