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Comparative Media Systems

Code: 45044 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
4317118 Global East Asian Studies OT 0 2


Mercedes Diez Jimenez

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


Maria Isabel Fernandez Alonso


It is recommended (although not essential) to have a certain amount of prior knowledge in Communication Structure and Policies. The subject looks to bring together graduates from various fields of Social Sciences and different geographical areas. It is essential to be linguistically competent in English, as well as in Spanish, in order to be able to work from the bibliography selected for the module.

Objectives and Contextualisation

The media system concept refers to the set of economic, political and social actors that contribute to the structuring of social communication processes in a given territory (which may or may not be a state) and the interrelationships that are established between them. At the same time, the study of media systems cannot be separated from the historical-cultural context from which they emerge, nor from other factors that can alter their configuration, such as technological advances and economic globalization (which tend to standardize systems ).

In this module we start with Hallin and Mancini’s 2004 proposal for the comparative analysis of media systems, focused on the political dimension, with the following goals in mind:

a) To review Hallin and Mancini’s theoretical model, as well as the criticisms this has received and the authors’ responses to these, with the purpose of reflecting on their suitability and applicability in different contexts.

b) From the previous reflection, to propose a case study on a specific aspect of a media system taking into account the dimensions and variables most suitable for study.

Learning Outcomes

  • CA19 (Competence) Assess communication policies in the new technological environment.
  • KA14 (Knowledge) Identify in public policies the characteristics of the different models of media systems.
  • SA22 (Skill) Analyse the role of hegemonic actors (economic and political) in media systems.
  • SA23 (Skill) Analyse the role of emerging (social) actors in media systems.
  • SA24 (Skill) Analyse media access in civil society.


Eight of the ten sessions of the module will be structured around the following:

1 Presentation of the course and definition of the concept and structural elements of media systems
2 Sociopolitical theories and dimensions of analysis in the work of Hallin and Mancini
3 Polarized pluralist media systems
4 Corporate democratic media systems
5 Liberal media systems
6 The homogenization of the models
7 Criticisms and responses to Hallin and Mancini’s proposal
8 Applicability in other contexts
The two remaining sessions will be devoted to the presentation and discussion of the case studies (application of Hallin and Mancini’s framework to specific systems) carried out by the students. Depending on the number of students enrolled, the schedule provided for the presentations of the case studies may vary slightly.


The subject’s teaching approach combines face-to-face classes with students’ regular autonomous and individual work. The face-to-face sessions will be based on: 1) teacher presentations; 2) debates around the issues examined, based on readings given to students in advance; and 3) presentations of case studies carried out by students.

The learning activities students will have to develop autonomously include: reading the texts that will be discussed in class, and preparing an analysis on a specific aspect of a media system of their choice. The discussion on the relevance and pertinence of the case studies proposed by the students will be agreed upon in class, although their supervision will also be carried out through individual tutorials.

The development of the course will address the incorporation of the gender perspective, whether in its content, sources or work dynamics.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Lectures 15 0.6 CA19, KA14, SA22, SA23, SA24, CA19
Seminar 15 0.6 CA19, KA14, SA22, SA23, SA24, CA19
Type: Supervised      
Follow-up test and oral defense of essays 3 0.12 CA19, KA14, SA22, SA23, SA24, CA19
Tutorials 12 0.48 CA19, KA14, SA22, SA23, SA24, CA19
Type: Autonomous      
Essays writing, individual study, readings papers/specialized reports 105 4.2 CA19, KA14, SA22, SA23, SA24, CA19


Assessment will be based on:

a) Two formative tests that will verify to what extent the key ideas of the readings, the exhibitions and the debates made in the face-to-face sessions have been understood. Each one will be equivalent to 25% of the final grade.

b) The analysis of a specific aspect of the media system agreed upon with each student. It will be assessed based on a brief essay (about 10 pages) and the presentation of this to the group.
The mark for this work, which will account for 50% of the final grade, will also take into account the preparation and execution of the oral presentation.

Resits are possible for all the assessment activities, provided that at least two have been made. To be eligible for resits, students must have obtained an average score of between 3.5 and 4.9 for the subject. The maximum mark for successful resits is 5.

If the student is unable to attend one of the two formative tests for a justified and verifiable reason, he/she may be assessed on this part on the day of the resit. If the absence cannot be justified, the percentage that corresponds to this test will be subtracted from the final grade.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Submission of essays, reports and commentaries: Written essay 50% (written essay + oral defense) 0 0 CA19, KA14, SA22, SA23, SA24
Theoretical - practical written assessment: Follow-up test 25% + 25% 0 0 CA19, KA14, SA22, SA23, SA24


BRÜGGEMANN, Michael; ENGESSER, Sven and alt. (2014). “Hallin and Mancini Revisited: Four Empirical Types of Western Media Systems”. Journal of Communication 64, 1.037-1.065.

ESSER, Frank; HANITZSCH, Thomas (eds.) (2012). Handbook of Comparative Communication Research (ICA Handbook Series). New York & London: Routledge. 

GIBBONS, Thomas; HUMPHREYS, Peter (2011). Audiovisual regulation under pressure: comparative cases from North America and Europe. New York: Routledge.

GUERRERO, Manuel A. (2014). “The 'captured liberal' model of media systems en Latin America”, en Guerrero, Manuel A. y Márquez-Ramírez, Mireya (eds.). Media Systems and Communication Policies en Latin America. Basingstoke, Hamps.: Palgrave Macmillan.

HALLIN, Daniel C.; MANCINI, Paolo (2008). Sistemas de medios comparados. Tres modelos de relación entre los medios de comunicación y la política. Barcelona: Hacer.

HALLIN, Daniel C.; MANCINI, Paolo (2010). "Comparing Media Systems: a Response to Critics". Media & Jornalismo, n.17, vol. 9, n.2, pp.53-67.

HALLIN, Daniel C.; MANCINI, Paolo (2012). Comparing Media Systems Beyond the Western World. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.

HALLIN, Daniel C.; MANCINI, Paolo (2016). "Ten Years After Comparing Media Systems: What Have We Learned?". Political Communication, vol. 34, 2017, issue 2, pp. 155-171. Online 31-10-2016 [http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10584609.2016.1233158].

HALLIN, Daniel C.; PAPATHANASSOPOULOS, Stylianos (2002). “Political clientelism and the media: southern Europe and Latin America in comparative perspective”. Media, Culture & Society, March 2002, n. 24, pp. 175-195.

HARDY, Jonathan (2008). Western Media Systems. London: Routledge.

JAKUBOWICZ, Karol; SÜKÖSD, Miklós (2008). Finding the Right Place on the Map. Central and Eastern European Media Change in a Global Perspective. Bristol, UK/Chicago, USA: Intellect Books.

MELLADO, Claudia; HELLMUELLER, Lea and alt. (2017). “The Hybridization of Journalistic Cultures: A Comparative Study of Journalistic Role Performance”. Journal of Communication, November 2017.

MELLADO, Claudia; LAGOS, Claudia (2013). "Redefining comparative analyses of media systems from the perspective of new democracies". Communication&Society/ Comunicación y Sociedad, vol. 26, n.4, pp. 1-24.

 PUPPIS, Manuel; JUST, Natascha (eds.) (2012). Trends in Communication Policy Research. Intellect Books - European Communication Research and Education Association.


No specific software is required.