Who Owns the Media?
We examine the patterns of media ownership in 97 countries around the world. We find that almost universally the largest media firms are owned by the government or by private families. Government ownership is more pervasive in broadcasting than in the printed media. Government ownership of the media is generally associated with less press freedom, fewer political and economic rights, and, most conspicuously, inferior social outcomes in the areas of education and health. It does not appear that adverse consequences of government ownership of the media are restricted solely to the instances of government monopoly.