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The Regulation of the Mass Media

Mass communication media are institutional or corporate outlets which produce, publish and disseminate audio, visual or written information to the general public. Such outlets are news agencies, print media like newspapers and news magazines, electronic broadcasting (radio and television) channels, networks and programs, content providers and platforms.

Corporate communication media are legal entities incorporated and licensed for business and commercial purposes like, news reporting, professional journalism, entertainment, advertising and dissemination of other public information. These purposes are listed, specified and ratified in their articles of incorporation, bye laws and charters of management and operation. Political activities are not designated in such charters, bye laws or articles or in the broadcast / broadband licenses issued by the administrative authorities for the TV – Radio stations and other mass media outlets. It goes without saying that political rights, like of vote and election, and liberties, like the freedoms of expression and speech, the constitution naturally and explicitly recognises and reserves only for physical entities i.e. individual persons (like for vote and election) or associations of persons (like political parties in parliaments). The constitution does not provide or extend personal rights and liberties to legal entities, particularly to corporate mass media. Instead communication activism and especially the exploitation of mass communication by the media for purposes other than the dissemination of public information in the licensed areas under the designated liberal standards, is not in the legal, corporate or economic model, purpose, interest or legal broadcasting function of the mass media. This is applicable even in the cases when communication activism is not expressly tied to overt, covert or undisclosed, unlawful, illegal or criminal activities.

The freedom of the press is a right of journalism regulated by the professional standards, principles and practices of this trade and technique, such as truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability. These standards provide for the performance and integrity of news reporting, journalism and overall in the communication of public information which is instrumental and beneficial for the running of the media businesses, the states, societies and economies and the lives of the people and specifically for their health, wealth and happiness. These standards also provide for the autonomy and independence of the media from political, governmental and/or commercial interference. Independence, integrity and professional performance are important also for the single political (and commercial) but essential exception legally mandated in journalism. This is the duty of loyalty, credibility and check which journalism owes to the public against the power of state interests and/or of private dominant concerns. The justification of the commitment of journalism to the public is twofold. Firstly, in the public nature of the information and so of the communication broadcasts. Secondly in the mandatory distinction between state or private powers and journalism. The purpose here is the avoidance of corruptive complots between political power and news reporting which are generative of information crisis and destructive for liberty, democracy, society, economy and polity. The service and commitment to the public (information and communication), the clear separation (1-1) of state and private power and journalistic duty and the sanction of unlawful complots (1+1) between the two, is therefore the institutional cornerstone of the supervision and regulation of the mass media.

Besides, news reporting is about facts reporting and is based profoundly in the distinction not in the confusion between information and communication. Any manipulation and fabrication of facts which are staged and represented to the public as real, true and genuine typically falls under the provisions of dissemination of false information, offences of the press, fraud, deceit or other forms of illegal (habitual and professional) exercise of psychological violence, without exclusion of classification under other chapters of wrongful tort or penal felony.

In liberty, news and information are necessary for the people to know the (past) facts, to plan the (future) acts and overall to decide what to do next in the course of activity and time.

In democracy reliable news and information are instrumental for the political, social and economic participation of the public and the people, for the accountability of the governments and for the success of governance.

The media, as producers and providers of public information and communication, whether institutional, corporate or social, always act for the paramount individual and common interest of the public and the people (users, subscribers, customers and consumers). In this connection the media, whether profit or non-profit, check and control government authority and corporate power.

Accordingly, regulation deals with situations where the media act for

  • The interest and benefit of the governments or other powerful interests
  • The damage of the interest of the public and the people
  • The profit and benefit of their own or of parties and interests associated with them, which is other than that profit and benefit which they draw from the service of the interest and benefit of the public

Media regulation deals particularly with concerted practices, orchestrations, concentrations, dominions, trusts and monopolies for exploitations, violations and abuses and especially with exercises of authority and power, with regard to the cases recited above. Obviously hyperbolic or hypothetical reporting is one type of such exercises.

Finally regulation contains the technical, technological, ecological, economic, social, political, institutional and legal risk, whereby the media information and communication become instruments for the service of the producers rather than instruments for the service of the users, customers and consumers. This is important where the media device renders the user an instrument of its producer (manipulation), reversing the transaction in both relational and content terms.

It goes without saying that the non disclosure (or concealment) of private or state interests in the presentation and communication of news and public information by the mass media is unlawful under public information regulation rules and under the general provisions of the law on deception and extortion. More unlawful under particular provisions of competition violation and criminal organisation, is the non disclosure (or concealment) of collateral pre-meditations, schemes and designs for the adoption, production and orchestration of false and corrupt information and communication to the public, before they become evident or profound.

As mentioned, general and particular law and regulation protects the integrity of information and communication for the common interest and benefit of the public and of the mass media (management and liability).

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