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TitleThe role of the state and self-regulation in journalism: the balance of power in Portugal
Author(s)Fidalgo, Joaquim
Sousa, Helena
Issue dateApr-2007
CitationINTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE COMPARING MEDIA SYSTEMS, WEST MEETS EAST, Kliczków Castle, 2007 – “International Conference Comparing media Systems, West Meets East”. [S.l. : s.n., 2007].
Abstract(s)It is widely accepted that journalism plays a relevant role in forming the concepts, images and belief systems used to interpret the world. There is a strong dispute however as to the best approach to ensure the positive functions of this performative role and to reduce the negative social consequences of journalist’s actions and omissions. Though in different ways, media regulation is expected to raise journalistic standards and therefore to contribute to the expansion of public and private media social responsibilities. Quite frequently the opposition between journalistic duties and obligations, on the one hand, and media freedom, on the other hand, has been dichotomized as if both dimensions were not constitutive of democratic societies. Commercial media companies tend to argue for more autonomy in order to pursuit their business objectives, suggesting that the market is the most adequate regulatory mechanism. Differently, other social actors have been defending a progressive sophistication of regulation, particularly state-centred, as a last resort to ensure fundamental values in an increasingly commercially-driven environment. Though the balance of power between state-centred regulatory bodies and professionally-based mechanisms differ quite considerably from country to country, the overall regulatory construct is designed to induce change in the name of the ‘public interest’ and it is the ongoing result of different (often conflicting) views regarding the role of the state in society. This article focuses on the intricate regulatory mechanisms of the journalistic profession in Portugal. It presents the main traits of the legal apparatus relevant to the journalistic activity, the state media regulatory entity (ERC- Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social) and the diverse journalistic self-regulatory instruments, namely newsroom councils, internal codes, newsroom stylebooks, the journalistic deontological code, the deontological council, ombudsman and media criticism. Analysing the journalistic regulatory apparatus and its historical development, this chapter argues that general interest values cannot be guaranteed by a single regulatory body, legal setting or individual action. Indeed, the Portuguese case shows that, despite the prominence of state media regulation, the efficiency of the system depends on the overall functioning of the entire regulatory construct. Professional self-regulation and citizens’ participation are perceived as indispensable pillars in the development of a responsible and accountable media culture.
TypeConference paper
DescriptionPublicação no prelo.
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CECS - Livros e capítulo de livros / Books and book chapters

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