Mapping Digital Media: The Digital Dividend

Mapping Digital Media: The Digital Dividend

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The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.

The amount of radio spectrum released by the transition to digital television is known as the digital dividend. Given the growing pressure on spectrum, as well as the social and political importance of television, the digital dividend has sparked intense debate between representatives of the media and advocates of other uses for spectrum—above all, the telecommunications industry.

This paper considers how citizens and policymakers should approach the changes in the media and communication landscape, as television and broadband mobile internet compete for spectrum. Successful decisions about the digital dividend are measured in terms of benefiting consumers and citizens as well as maximizing spectrum use. Gérard Pogorel proposes a step-by-step, analytical approach to the issue, emphasizing explicit consideration of public policy criteria, their implications, and their impact. Citizens have a major—and as yet undiscovered—role to play in shaping this process.