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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Global Media Regulation and Censorship

A couple of weeks ago I posted "China Goes Back to Stricter Media Policies," talking about how in 2012 China will be implementing stricter regulations on certain media. China is probably one of the main countries to be associated with terms like "censorship" and "media regulation," since there has always been a heavy government hand in such things. But after doing a little research it becomes evident that media regulation and censorship are issues in many countries around the world.

According to this article from the Malaysian National News Agency, several east Asian countries (including China, Japan, and South Korea) are working to make people more accountable for "any wrongdoings in cyberspace." They would like any manipulation in the media facilitated by social media usage to be stopped, and action to be taken against individuals responsible. The point is to prevent any Facebook and Twitter users and bloggers from giving any false or misleading information and then be able to "hide." What I think this article was trying to say, is that Asian leaders want to use media regulations to keep certain information hidden.

In Lebanon, bloggers are concerned about how media regulations will affect their Internet freedom. This article states: "The National Audiovisual Media Council, which regulates TV and radio, has asked all Lebanese news websites and blogs to register with the agency starting this month, according to local media reports." Although many in the social media world find this suspicious, they have little choice since any sites that do not register will be banned. Though the head of the media council insists that the new rules are meant to protect, not restrict, websites and blog, free-speech advocates and bloggers remain unconvinced.

Google is in the hot seat in Australia as the review of global Internet content rules continues. Google is just one of the large, international companies that may not adhere to media regulations in certain countries. The Convergence Review (a government-established review that goes over media policies and regulations) is concerned that Google content will not be able to be regulated as well as the Review would like, since it is not an Australian-based company, but a global one. While this is being pondered, the Review also recommended rebuilding the Broadcasting Services Act, since media can now be "broadcast across multiple platforms simultaneously."

Sports media regulations are increasing in Zambia. There is a call for stricter accreditation standards in order to ensure sports footage and interviews do not end up somewhere unauthorized:
 "Speaking during a workshop for league members and journalists from Kenya, Uganda and Zambia held at the German Football Federation (DFL) headquarters here, Rathbone called for a better relationship between league managers and the media in the three countries.
'It is really disgraceful that we have the broadcast rights of the league then we see journalists running on the pitch after a game. We can't have journalists with small VSH cameras getting footage of a game that we have rights for and we don't know where they are taking it,' he said."
This editorial from Sri Lanka's Daily News states that although the Sri Lankan government is committed to democracy, it sees no reason not to regulate media in order to protect "common interest." Media outlets that "flout the norms of legally and ethically admissible media practices" make it necessary for the government to stop this abuse of media freedom. The editorial also accuses websites of committing what the U.S. calls libel. These websites cannot defend themselves in a court of law, because their origins are unknown due to being unregistered. But the author of the editorial thinks that if the websites feel like they are within their rights, they should have no problem coming clean.

These are just five examples of media regulation and censorship that occur in different countries. China may seem like the censorship frontrunner, but other nations' governments take action against media, as well.

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