Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Regulatory Authorities and Media Independence

Kristina Irion, University of Amsterdam; Central European University, and Roxana Radu, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (HEI) have published Delegation to Independent Regulatory Authorities in the Media Sector: A Paradigm Shift Through the Lens of Regulatory Theory, in The Independence of the Media and Its Regulatory Agencies: Shedding New Light on Formal and Actual Independence on Formal and Actual Independence Against the National Context, 15 (W. Schultz, P. Alcke & K. Irion, eds.; Bristol UK/Chicago: Intellect, 2013). 

Today, it seems that independent regulatory authorities have almost become a natural institutional form for regulatory governance. This trend has economic and political roots, and numerous normative arguments for creating independent regulatory authorities have been put forward in the international economic, social science and legal literature, which this chapter will explore briefly. In the case of audiovisual media regulatory authorities the normative arguments for setting up independent regulators are more complex than just economic regulation. In the case of media there is a perceived need to prevent politicians and executive branches of government from exercising control over regulatory authorities because those would otherwise be highly susceptible to partisan interference. In this area, independence, as an institutional value of the regulator that should ensure the impartial and fair handling of its competences, has been a widely accepted media regulatory paradigm since the 1980s. This chapter will link regulatory theory and delegation to independent agencies with the inception of independent media regulatory authorities in Europe and introduce the various waves of development which have made this the leading institutional choice for audiovisual media governance.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

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