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Selling short media accountability? The importance of addressing market-driven claims on media freedom

Chapter in book
Authors Andrew T. Kenyon
Eva-Maria Svensson
Maria Edström
Published in Media Accountability in the Era of Post-Truth Politics European Challenges and Perspectives, 1st Edition
Pages 119-134
ISBN 9780815361671
Publisher Routledge
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Department of Law
Pages 119-134
Language en
Keywords Media accountability, free speech, democracy, journalism, advertising
Subject categories Law and Society, Law, Media and Communications


Media accountability is an important building block in the democratic rationale for free speech. The value of media accountability for free speech is two-fold. The most addressed value in the media studies literature concerns media’s ability to be accountable in relation to their stakeholders (von Krogh 2012, Fengler et al. 2014, Bardoel & D´Haenens 2004, Bertrand 2000, McQuail 1997). Another value is media’s obligation to seek to hold the powerful to account (e.g. Kenyon et al. forthcoming 2016). The former relates to the trustworthy-ness of the media; the latter invokes perhaps more directly the democratic function of journalism. This paper explores the idea that these two aspects of media accountability should be addressed together, using the example of advertising and editorial content in contemporary media. This broader approach to media accountability clearly involves both self-regulation and legislation—and not self-regulation as merely an alternative to legislation or a method of avoiding legislation. The two techniques operate on somewhat distinct areas, and together they aim to support the values of media accountability for a democratic and free media.

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