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Article 19

Media Regulation: Who Needs Your Protection?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Freedom of expression and media freedom - most contentious issues not only in autocracies but, seemingly increasingly, also in democracies. It's a fine line between regulating the media and strangling it. Who should be protected by media regulation? The media? The public? Freedom of expression? The government? National security?

Let's start with the media. Does the media need protection? Surely - at least to some extend media systems need to be shielded from being overwhelmed by economic and political interests. If we assume that a free and balanced media is fundamental to a healthy balance between the state and its citizens there need to be safeguards that allow journalists to report without fear of repercussions.

Human Rights Never Get Old

Andrea Cairola's picture

It was a hectic time for human rights last week here in Paris because of the many initiatives to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed on 10 December 1948 in this very town, at Palais de Chaillot. And it was hectic here at UNESCO’s HQ as well, which among many initiatives opened its doors to the last living witness of the Declaration’s drafting group, lawyer Stéphane Hessel awarded with the UNESCO/Bilbao Prize.
 
But working myself in the “Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace Division”, of course my focus was on the Declaration’s Article 19, the right of every individual to “freely seek, receive and impart information through any media and regardless of frontiers”. A perfect formulation by those wise drafters Mr Hessel was part of. And a forward-looking one if we think that the wording “through any media and regardless of frontiers” was conceived in the aftermath of WWII, but it is even more of appropriate nowadays in the age of the Internet. Let’s repeat it once again: “freely seek, receive and impart information” - that is to say the essential prerequisite for two-way flow of information among public sphere’s three sectors: the media, the civil society and the State.