The Enabling Environment for Free and Independent Media: Contribution to Transparent and Accountable Governance

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Throughout the world, there is a vast remapping of media laws and policies. This important moment for building more democratic media is attributable to rapid-fire geo-political changes. These include a growing zest for information, the general move towards democratization, numerous pressures from the international community, and the inexorable impact of new media technologies. Whatever the mix in any specific state, media law and policy is increasingly a subject of intense debate. Shaping an effective democratic society requires many steps. The formation of media law and media institutions is one of the most important. Too often, this process of building media that advances democracy is undertaken without a sufficient understanding of the many factors involved. This study is designed to improve such understanding, provide guidance for those who participate in the process of constructing such media, and indicate areas for further study. Laws are frequently looked at in isolation and as interchangeable parts that are separately advocated 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 settings in which they exist that makes 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.

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