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Based on the theoretical framework, especially McQuail’s four roles of the media in democracy (monitorial, facilitative, radical and collaborative), the Monitor’s project team developed a set of dimensions and indicators to measure the performance and contribution of leading news media to contemporary democracies:

These three dimensions (freedom / informationequality / forum and control / watchdog) were operationalised through 26 indicators, and for each of them the national research team was requested to grade the performance of their country’s media by assigning from 0 to 3 points.

Freedom / Information

The indicators within this dimension include:

  • Geographic distribution of news media availability
  • Patterns of news media use (news consumption)
  • Diversity of news sources
  • Internal rules for practice of newsroom democracy
  • Company rules against internal / external influence on the newsroom
  • Procedures on news selection and news processing

Equality / Interest mediation​

The indicators within this dimension include:

  • Media ownership concentration national / regional / local
  • Diversity of formats
  • Minority / alternative media
  • Affordable public and private media
  • Content monitoring instruments
  • Code of ethics at the national level
  • Level of self-regulation
  • Participation
  • Rules and practices on internal pluralism

Control / Watchdog​

The indicators within this dimension include:

  • Supervising the watchdog (“control of the controllers”)
  • Independence of the news media from power holders
  • Transparency of data on media system
  • Journalism professionalism
  • Journalism job security
  • Watch-dog and media mission statements
  • Professional training
  • Watch-dog and financial resources