SHOULD PRESS BE LIABLE OR NOT?
Recent years have increased legal accountability of producers and advertisers for providing SAFE products and RELIABLE information to customers. A government influences a wide range of market operations from licensing requirements to contract actions. That control announces and enforces determined norms of quality.
Each of these regulations is designed to protect consumers from being hurt or CHEATED by defects in the goods and services they buy. This matter, when producers look to the law rather than to the market to establish and maintain new standards of quality (of their goods), shows, that modern market has an ability of selfregulation. But it also shows another unbelievable feature: consumers are both incapable of rationally assessing risks and unaware of their own ignorance.
Companies and corporations all over the world are systematically inclined to SHIRK on quality and that without the threat of legal liability may subject their customers or other people to serious risk of harm from their products if it could save money by doing so.
According to this point of view, for most goods and services, consumers are POWERLESS to get producers to satisfy their demand for safe, high-quality products! The unregulated market lets unfair producers to pass on others the costs of their mistakes.
Legal liability is ready to correct these "market failures" by creating a special mechanism (feedback), regulating relations between producers and customers. Unfair producers should be punished and their exposure is increasing.
One market,however, has completely ESCAPED the imposition of legal liability. The market for political information remains genuinely
free of legally imposed quality obligations. The electronic mass media are subject to more extensive government regulation than paid media, but in their role as suppliers of political information, nothing is required to meet any externally established quality standards.
In fact, those, who gather and report the news, have no legal obligations to be competent, thorough or disinterested. And those, who publish or broadcast it, have no legal obligation to warrant its truthfulness, to guarantee its relevance, to assure its completeness.
The thing is: Should the political information they provide fail, for example, to be truthful, relevant, or complete, the costs of this failure will not be paid by press. Instead they will be borne by the citizens. Should the information intrude the privacy of an individual or destroy without justification an individual's reputation - again, the cost will not be borne by producer of it.
This side of "activity" of producers of harmful or defective information (goods, services, etc) practically is not acknowledged. Producers of most goods and services are considered worlds APART from the press in kind, not just in degree. Holding producers in ordinary markets to ever higher standards of liability is seen as PROCOMSUMER. Proposing holding the press to any standard of liability for political information is seen as ANTIDEMOCRATIC. The press is constitutionally obligated to check on the government.
Most of policymakers justify legal liability for harms, caused by goods and services and quite limited liability for harms, caused by information. Liability for defective consumer products is PREDICATED on a market failure. As for "unfair" producers, power of possible profits PREVENT consumers from translating their true preferences for safety and quality into effective demand. So, customer preferences remain outside the safety and quality decision-making process of producers. Today, it'll be a new mechanism to force producers to follow customers true preferences.
Lack of liability for defective or harmful political information can be predicated only on a different kind of supposed market failure - not a failure of the market to SUPPLY the LEVEL of safety that customers want but its failure to supply the amount of political information that society should have. Some experts say, that free market has tendency to produce "too little" correct information, especially political information.
The thing is: political information is a public good and it has many characteristics of a public good. That is a product that many people value and use but only few will pay for. Factual(real) information cannot easily be restricted to direct purchasers. Many people benefit who do not pay for it because the market cannot find the way to charge them. As you can see, providers of political information try to get as much profit as possible spreading it, so they HAVE TO supply "too little" info. Otherwise - the market FAILS!
Реферат опубликован: 5/09/2006