04 September, 2013

By Matthew Alexander

The burning question around media regulation is: who watches the watchdogs?

The main issue is not whether or not self-regulatory bodies work or if statutory bodies work.

The issue resides in who will be in charge of the regulatory body. It is seen as unethical if a media representative were to be in charge because it is assumed that all ethical barriers will be broken.

If it were a governmental figure heading the body, it’s assumed that all news would be in favour for a political party.

It’s easy to create assumptions; the real truth is to simply experience both scenarios. Certain aspects that were taken into account were: the type of content being produced, whether or not the content being produced would be effective, the content will be enjoyable and that the media’s objectivity would not be in question.

But not all media is ethically correct. There have been many instances where the media has overstepped its mark.

The only thing stopping our nation from becoming a totalitarian state is our right to free press and freedom of speech.

It’s alarming to think about having a governmental figure being a head of a media organisation regulatory body, especially with the emergence of the state of information bill.

But even so, in only a small group of countries has self-regulatory bodies succeeded. So is our only option to break even and to have a small body consisting of governmental and media representatives.  

It’s all speculation at this point. The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that media needs to be regulated for the correct reasons and not for personal gain.

After all, a nation is only as informed as its journalist’s. Stifling their ability to report on a sensitive and vital manner would only hinder our nation.

But it’s also the responsibility of a journalist to be fair, to write carefully on a delicate matter and to ultimately uphold the ethical code of a journalist.

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