Keywords: media, political economy, concentration, integration, imbalance, New World Information Order
Attention to the media field grew in Italy from the 1970s onwards in the wake of the debate to renew and reform public service broadcasting and then the advent of private radio and television. To the ‘administrative’ research on the management and marketing of media enterprises was soon added the analysis of media power in different directions. Critical research aims to highlight the way by which the media pursue this objective from the point of view of ‘political economy’. The basic assumption here is that the media act to maintain and renew the imbalances and inequalities of capitalist society. The most interesting topics of research on this field concern the production, dissemination and consumption of media products in commodity form, the concentration of media enterprises and the reduction of information pluralism, the horizontal and vertical integration of enterprises and the role of the state in media policies. The ‘political economy’ of the media and its critical research of the international system was supportive of the New World Information Order, a movement that expressed the demands of dozens of developing countries. His contribution was fundamental to the critical analysis of the world information system carried out in the late 1970s by the UNESCO commission led by Sean MacBride.