The paper starts from the assumptions that firstly we are moving from a hierarchical form of government to a more heterarchical one and secondly that media policy and politics denote some lack of democratic accountability. After outlining the democratic deficit in media policy and politics we review the core literature about media governance in order to outline the main features, which media scholars have identified in their works. We come to the conclusion that the literature about media governance oversimplifies the power structures in the media system by pointing out the importance of interactions, coordination and participation that in fact are no more than a simple consultation.
We thus focus on a participatory conceptualization of governance. From the standpoint of mass mediated communication it is clear that every social group in modern society is a relevant stakeholder that should participate in the definition of the media policy framework, since mass media play a pivotal role by delivering information about important political and social issues. Through a set of interviews with civil society representatives that are participating in advertising regulation authorities in France and the UK we outline the main benefits of involving civil society actors in the decision making process. We conclude with some recommendations about transferring the participatory experience of the two case studies to such media sectors that are vital for the diffusion of political and social information.