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THE EXTENSIVE REFORMS of the International Telecommunication Union, the result of extraordinary efforts over the last decade to redefine the future of international regulation, have not reduced the call for even stronger global jurisdiction over the booming growth and cascading transnational impact of telecoms and media organisations. In this essay, I examine the underlying tensions that make international agreement on a Global Communications Commission, with tough law-making and regulatory authority, so hard to achieve. My method is to project from the national experience to the transnational. I argue that media law and regulation, in the national context, enacts what I call a market for loyalties. Law serves to mediate among groups competing to affect or control national identity. Only if there is consensus among the major competitors in this market (which, as we shall see, is different from the market for goods), does law come effectively into play. Media law and regulation, with important, but irrelevant exceptions, exists, generally, for the convenience of those whom it is designed to serve.
global communications commission, international telecommunication union, communication regulation, global communication
Date Posted: 05 November 2009