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Self-Regulation of the Media

Damian Tambini


Media self-regulation is the setting of rules for the media and oversight of compliance with those rules by media organizations or by users. Self-regulation should be distinguished from state or statutory regulation (i.e., regulation by law or by a statutory regulatory authority). Means of self-regulation include dispute resolution procedures, rating boards, codes of conduct, and at the level of the user, technical measures such as filtering, encryption, and pin numbers that regulate children's and others’ behavior. Self-regulation is often seen as more attractive than state regulation because it has legitimacy with the industry, is more flexible in responding to change, and can offer an alternative to state and political interference with media content. On the other hand, self-regulation is often criticized for the same reasons: because it is overly flexible and too close to the industry to offer genuine protection of the →  public interest . The sanctions of self-regulation are generally seen as weaker than those available to statutory bodies or through legal process. Usually, exclusion from the trade association or self-regulatory scheme is the ultimate sanction. In the case of press and broadcasting, there may be an obligation to publish a retraction or apology. Forms of self-regulation are in some cases linked to statutory schemes. For example, the self-regulatory ratings provided ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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