Handbook on the Politics of Regulation
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Handbook on the Politics of Regulation

Edited by David Levi-Faur

This unique Handbook offers the most up-to-date and comprehensive, state-of-the-art reviews of the politics of regulation. It presents and discusses the core theories and concepts of regulation in response to the rise of the regulatory state and regulatory capitalism, and in the context of the ‘golden age of regulation’. Its eleven sections include forty-eight chapters covering issues as diverse and varied as: theories of regulation; historical perspectives on regulation; regulation of old and new media; risk regulation, enforcement and compliance; better regulation; civil regulation; European regulatory governance; and global regulation. As a whole, it provides an essential point of reference for all those working on the political, social, and economic aspects of regulation.
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Chapter 17: Regulating the Media: Four Perspectives

Amit M. Schejter and Sangyong Han


Amit M. Schejter and Sangyong Han The media of mass communications are social institutions with the technological capacity to disseminate mass-produced messages (Turow 1992). In contemporary society they have become the chief distributors of symbolic content. Media regulation is the authoritative establishment of the quantity, quality and type of messages that they can or are required to distribute in a given social order. As a result, and within the context of defining the term “regulation” as set in Chapter 1 of this volume (Levi-Faur 2011) it is unworkable to discuss media regulation within a narrow definition of “regulation” that is limited to secondary legislation, as media regulation is a central and all-encompassing activity determining the extent of free expression in a given society, and all legal, economic and social means of governance can be employed in order to reach the same ends.1 The means for media regulation differ among political systems as contemporary media regulation emerges from patterns embedded in deep-seated ideological traditions. In order to analyze the different models of media regulation, both historically and contemporarily, this chapter identifies four perspectives employed to justify it: economic, technological, cultural and democratic. These four perspectives correspond to some extent to the chronological development of media regulation, as media regulation is as old as the media themselves. The chapter analyzes each of these perspectives, sets them within their historical context and ideological underpinnings, and provides examples for the development and changes in media regulation as they pertain to each of them. 17.1...

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