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Law Or Regulations On Media During Elections

718 words - 3 pages

Many countries have nothing in their laws to govern the behaviour of the media during elections and see no reason why they should. Others see some measure of special media regulation during an election as being part of the process of "levelling the playing field". Still others are somewhere in the middle, with a system of voluntary self-regulation, whereby the media agree to adopt a series of self-limiting regulations because of the special demands of an election period.

Even in long-established democracies, there are widely divergent views on how far the media should be subject to formal regulation in election periods. The US tradition is one of minimal regulation, while the European one ...view middle of the document...

Or it might not.

Zimbabwean electoral law, for example, makes no mention of the media at all. In every election in the country's history, the state has had a monopoly of broadcasting (which is under tight government control) and, for most of that time, a monopoly of the daily newspapers too. The absence of any specific regulation of the media in elections, far from "levelling the playing field", has allowed the government to "move the goal posts". For example, the refusal of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to run opposition advertisements during a referendum in February 2000 prompted the opposition to seek a High Court order against the broadcaster. They succeeded in doing so, but arguably it should not have been necessary. In subsequent parliamentary elections, the ZBC decided not to run political advertising at all - until election day, when it broadcast advertisements for the ruling party, too late for other parties to respond. Under election law (though possibly not under Zimbabwean broadcasting law), the ZBC was entitled to do this. [1]

In situations where large sections of the media are either publicly owned or under the control of one particular political interest...

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