Many structures, little accountability

Authored by: Nuno Moutinho , Helena Lima , Suzana Cavaco , Ana Isabel Reis

The European Handbook of Media Accountability

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472457660
eBook ISBN: 9781315616353
Adobe ISBN:


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The Portuguese media system is shaped by its historical background of nearly 50 years of dictatorship and a dramatic transition period to democracy. Being a small market, there is a tendency to instrumentalization by the elite and a low consumption of news, fitting Hallin and Mancini’s Polarized Pluralist Model. A partisan journalism was put in place during the Revolution of 1974, but by then journalists had also experienced a free press and established an ethical code. The revolutionary period brought considerable instability to newsrooms, media property and news content, but it also brought a press law that granted great powers to journalists. Since then, several accountability instruments have emerged, namely a press council that has evolved to the present regulatory entity of communication. Journalists have witnessed a growing deontological ‘legal regulation’, which is framed by several MAIs. However, the increase in these institutions and codes does not seem to attract great participation from citizens, and journalists’ professional attitudes towards external entities prevail as mistrustful, tending to disregard the opinion of people outside their professional field.

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