Archive | February 2014

How to regulate the media to improve freedom of speech

The current media accountability/self-regulation system in Australia has passed its use by date. To become a proper safeguard of quality in journalism and to function as a mechanism to re-build the lost trust in journalism displayed by the public, it needs amendments. In fact, the regulations need to become much stricter. The question is: can this be done without impeding on freedom of speech and freedom of the press?

Australia bucks the global trends of journalists’ trust in public institutions (Hanitzsch & Berganza, 2012:806). Even though it has a free and under regulated media, there is no constitutional guarantee or protection to freedom of speech. When left-leaning ideas of (publicly funded) media regulation are presented (Bacon, 2012:69), this flies in the face the existing ideological restraints inherent within the news as a commodity, essentially igniting a hysterical media already worried about its access to freedom of speech. To further hold the media accountable and to regulate the media, without impeding on the freedom of speech or freedom of the press, legislators need to create value for all parties involved. A constitutional freedom of speech guarantee is necessary before more enforceable forms of media regulation can be pursued.

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