Regulation has become one of the most common and pernicious tools used to restrict media freedom around the world, even as the broadcast sector has opened dramatically in recent years in a number of countries and regions. Striking the balance between the public’s right to freedom of expression and the state’s obligation to protect their citizens from violence continues to be a serious challenge amid the explosive growth of terrestrial, satellite and digital media. This report explores issues of government oversight, self-regulatory bodies, and licensing that continue to plague governments and free speech advocates whose interests often seem diametrically opposed. Through in-depth country studies and an examination of recent cases in a range of media environments where media regulation poses a threat to media diversity and freedom, this report offers several cautionary examples as well as recommendations for reform.
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