theory to avoid ethnocentric biases; second, it is important to focus on why the media function the way they do rather than on how they ought to function. There is a gap between normative theory and journalism practice, a gap between ideal and reality even within Western societies that share common values of free speech, independent judiciary, separation of church and state, and democracy. The gap is far greater in non-Western countries, especially in the Arab region where political systems and cultures are diverse. Therefore, to apply liberal theory or any country-specific normative theory for an assessment of Arab media would be reductive and ethnocentric, and it would limit itself to the question of how broadcasting ought to function rather than why it functions the way it does. To avoid these pitfalls, I use a normative theory based on international norms as articulated in the ICCPR. 2 This approach broadens the scope and applicability of the normative concepts and allows for a far-reaching understanding of how broadcasting regulators function. The ICCPR 3 in its formulation 2 I am borrowing from the work of Duffy (2014) for the ICCPR as the basis for his normative theory. 3 Saudi Arabia is the only country among the 11 countries under study that has not ratified the ICCPR.
4404 Bouziane Zaid International Journal of Communication 12(2018) constitutes a framework that guides governments to develop laws around the protection of freedom of expression while also protecting public order and public morals. This framework helps avoid the false generalizations and biases of the ideal neutral watchdog media embedded in the liberal media theory. Article 19 of the ICCPR states, 1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. 3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals (ICCPR, n.d., paras., 77–81). Broadcasting is unique among all other media because it is the most regulated. Unlike commercial print media or the Internet, broadcasting has typically accorded the state considerable powers over the way it functions. State interference is therefore not necessarily an indication of political control, as the liberal model would suggest. In mature democracies, the state exercises power over licensing, in crafting policy and regulations, and typically in appointing executive managers (for stations/companies and regulatory institutions), but not over content (Christians et al., 2009). Editorial
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- Fall '19
- Arab League, Arab World, Sudan, Yemen, Comoros