What do citizens need from the media, and how should this be regulated? Western democracies are witnessing a changing regulatory regime, from "command-and-control" government to discursive, multi-stakeholder governance. In the United Kingdom, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) is required to further the interests of citizens and consumers, which it does in part by aligning them as the citizen-consumer. What is meant by this term, and whether it captures the needs of citizens or subordinates them to those of consumers, has been contested by civil society groups as well as occasioning some soul-searching within the regulator. By triangulating a discursive analysis of the Communications Act 2003, key actor interviews with the regulator and civil society bodies, and focus groups among the public, the authors seek to understand how these terms ('citizen', 'consumer', and 'citizen-consumer') are used to promote stakeholder interests in the media and communications sector, not always to the benefit of citizens.
Livingstone, Sonia and Lunt, Peter (2007) 'Representing citizens and consumers in media and communications regulation.' Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 611 (1). pp. 51-65. PDF.