One of the most consistent observations made by economists of government regulation has been the seemingly inevitable phenomenon of “regulatory capture” (Dal Bó, 2006; Kahn, 1971; Laffont & Tirole, 1991; Levine & Forrence, 1990; Mitnick,1980; Stigler, 1971; Wu, 2010). According to Horwitz (1989), this occurs when a regulatory agency “systematically favors the private interests of regulated parties and systematically ignores the public interest” (emphasis in original, p. 29). The public interest thus becomes “perverted” as a regulator matures through several phases. “As the agency hits old age, it becomes a bureaucratic morass which, because of precedent, serves to protect its industry” (Horwitz, 1989, p. 30). Fraser (2000) used the same analogy of life stages to explain regulatory capture:

In their infancy, regulators show youthful activism. By middle age, they have succumbed to subtle co-option by industry interests. In their final stages of bureaucratic senility, they degenerate into passive interests of the corporate interest under their purview. (p. D11)

By that description, he added, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) provided an excellent example of regulatory capture.

Marc Edge, in the latest Canadian Journal of Communication.

In this system, the EU’s role – defending the European values of media freedom and pluralism – is further justified by the need to protect its own representative democracy. After all, free and democratic European parliamentary elections could be called into question if some of the member states in which they are held lack media freedom and pluralism.

The fact that the group’s recommendations do not align with much of the media’s reporting on them suggests either that the group’s report overstates its intentions, or that the reading of some media outlets has been skewed. Reports that the group’s recommendations would empower the EU to protect media freedom, not to regulate the media – and even criticism that the recommendations leave too much to national authorities – support the latter interpretation. They also raise questions about why some in the media read so much EU control into the report; maybe the fact that it was an EU report meant more than its content.

In the Liberty you provided answers to those who hate free speech. Your main explanation was bracingly utilitarian, as befitted the son of James Mill. We value free speech, you wrote, because human beings are fallible and forgetful. Our ideas must be tested by argument: wrong opinion must be exposed and truth forced to defend itself, lest it “be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth.” (Your consequentialist followers said a flourishing marketplace of ideas was a precondition of participatory democracy and even of an innovative economy.)

Free Speech in the Era of Its Technological Amplification | MIT Technology Review

Jason Pontin writes a letter to John Stuart Mill on the current challenges of free speech in the context of Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Iran’s pre-election atmosphere is tense due to declining economic conditions, acute inflation, in-fighting among various factions within the government, the effect of sanctions on goods and services, and continued international scrutiny due to Iran’s nuclear program. The memories of the 2009 elections are etched in the public’s consciousness, thereby, adding pressure during this election season and, making the media’s actions a significant site of contention. On the one hand, the resurgence of a few independent media outlets could signal the loosening of some restrictions, but at the same time, it is just as likely to be a regime gimmick to lure the public into participating in the election. The latter can be seen as a risky strategy because of the potential for these more vociferously critical outlets to stir up political unrest among those opposed to the regime, and the recent arrests are likely part of this anxiety. Consequently, some Parliament officials, such as MP Ahmadreza Dastgheyb, have seized upon this as an opportunity to introduce further provisions into the current Press Law in the run-up to the election, strengthening the regime’s ability to supervise media activities, such as publishing potentially provocative content that “might cause harm to the country.” Similarly, the De

This article provides an empirically grounded assessment of China’s increasing role in the African mediasphere. It examines the strategic importance of Chinese media assistance to Ghana along three dimensions: the potential appeal of the Chinese approach to information regulation for countries struggling to balance development and risks to political stability; the direct intervention of Chinese companies in the media and telecommunication sectors through the provision of loans, equipment and technical expertise; and the stepping up of China’s public diplomacy strategy through the expansion of international broadcasters and the increase of exchange and training programs targeting African citizens.

Partner, prototype or persuader? China’s renewed media engagement with Ghana, by Iginio Gagliardone, Nicole Stremlau, Daniel Nkrumah