Explaining the de facto independence of public service broadcasters


Chris Hanretty


November 17, 2009


Institutions operating beyond direct control of government, such as central banks, constitutional courts and public broadcasters, enjoy guarantees of de jure independence, but de jure independence is no guarantee of de facto independence. This is especially so for public broadcasting, where cultural variables are often assumed to be decisive. In this article, the de jure and de facto independence of thirty-six public service broadcasters world-wide are operationalized, and de jure independence is found to explain a high degree of de facto independence when account is taken of the size of the market for news. Other variables considered in previous literature – such as bureaucratic partisanship and the polarization of the party system – are not found to be significant.


The version that was accepted by BJPolS (which lacks page numbers) is available here. You can access the version of record here.

Replication data

You can find replication data at the Harvard Dataverse


Hanretty, Chris. 2010. “Explaining the de Facto Independence of Public Service Broadcasters.” British Journal of Political Science 40 (1): 75–89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S000712340999024X.