Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version

January 2006

Publication Source

Media Matters: Perspectives on Advancing Governance and Development From the Global Forum for Media Development

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This volume seeks to show why media matters. But understanding why media matters depends on the mode of operation of the press and the particular context in which the media exist. Shaping an effective democratic society requires many steps. The formation of media law and media institutions is one of the most important. Laws are frequently looked at in isolation and as interchangeable parts that are separately advanced for the creation of effective and democracy-promoting media. They are also often analyzed and discussed with attention paid merely to their wording. However, each society has a cluster of activities, interactions of laws and the setting in which they exist, that make those laws more or less effective. Different states, at different stages of development, require different strategies for thinking about the role of media and, as a result, for thinking about the design and structure of the environment in which they operate. Media can only matter – we would argue – in an environment (an "enabling environment") that allows for a vigorous, demanding and informative press. It is significant, then, to identify components of the complex legal process that enables media to advance democratic goals.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Media Matters is licensed under creative commons using a non-commercial attribution 2.5 deed (CC BY-NC). You may not use this work for commercial purposes. For any use or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.



Date Posted: 16 January 2008