Media Capture and the Threat to Democracy


Threats to independent journalism no longer come only from direct forms of state control. Where advocates of a vibrant public sphere once mobilized against the suppression and censorship of news, they now must also contend with the more complex challenge of media capture, the topic of  a new book, In the Service of Power: Media Capture and the Threat to Democracy, published by the Center for International Media Assistance and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

In this volume of essays edited by Anya Schiffrin, media capture is shown to be a growing phenomenon linked both to the resurgence of authoritarian governments as well as to the structural weaknesses presently afflicting media markets. In this environment, political figures and economic elites are colluding to undermine the independence of privately-owned media, while efforts to stop this collusion by activists, regulators, and the international community have proven to be ineffective. CIMA is proud to present this collection and hopes it will inspire further research and thoughtful responses to this growing threat to democracies around the world.

For more information on the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance, please explore the website at, or contact

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