Media Law Roundup June 14th

Welcome to this week’s Media Law Roundup, a summary of developing media law and policy news.

Public TV broadcasts go dark in Greece

As of Wednesday, June 12th, Greece’s public TV broadcaster ERT shut down indefinitely.  Government spending cuts in response to the recession led to the broadcaster’s closure and the layoff of 2,500 employees.  ERT ran three TV channels and four radio stations.

News of the closure came as a shock to employees, who now join 27% of Greeks reportedly unemployed, and led to protests outside of the ERT headquarters.

Malaysian bloggers call for self- regulation instead of strict Internet laws

Bloggers and media analysts in Malaysia argued against the potential for harsh Internet laws similar to those imposed in China, Iran, and Singapore.   Instead, they argued that bloggers and social media users should self- regulate and be accountable for what they post online.

One suggestion put forth was the creation of an independent media council, similar to the model in the United Kingdom, to aid with self- regulation. Specifically, the media analysts argued against blocking or restricting social media sites, and promoted educating youth about the dangers of posting slanderous materials online.

Reactions to protests in Turkey highlight media policy

The failure of mainstream media to report on the protests in Taksim Square, Istanbul, led to public outcry and drew attention to the state of media freedom in Turkey.  Specifically, on June 9th, CNN Turk aired a documentary on penguins instead of covering news of increasing police brutality toward protestors.

The Guardian reports that despite the presence of journalists on the scene, the interests of Turkey’s media conglomerates, which depend on government contracts for their diversified interests, led many media organizations to self- censor. Additionally, over the past few years, several cases have highlighted direct government intervention into the editorial power of the media sphere.

The protests have highlighted the current level of freedom in Turkey’s media sphere and have drawn attention to the consequences of this media policy.

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