Active Audiences in the Regulation of the Audiovisual Media. Consumer versus Citizen in Spain and Mexico




Audience, citizen, consumer, accountability, participation, broadcasting, democracy, regulation


Media audience has been conceived, traditionally, as a group of citizens or consumers. In the Media environment, citizens exercise their communication rights and participate in the public sphere; consumers, on the other hand, consume audiovisual products in a specific market. In the citizen perspective, audiovisual communication serves the public interest and democratic values; in the consumer one, it serves private and individual interests. This paper studies the main academic positions referred to the dichotomy citizen – consumer, attending particularly to the investigations of Peter Dahlgren on relations between Media and Democracy; of Richard Collins, on Audiovisual Policy; and of Sonia Livingstone on public sphere, audience participation and Media governance. After this theoretical approach, the paper analyzes the presence of these conceptions of the audience in the audiovisual legal systems of two countries: Spain and Mexico. These two countries are modifying their legal framework. As a conclusion, it appears that the different conceptions of the audience –as consumers or as citizens– are in a close relationship with the different ways of Media control and accountability..