UN Rapporteur presents freedom of expression report

Written by Nicholas Barrett on . Posted in EUI Life N. 15, Events

UN Special Rapporteur Frank William La Rue has called for an “intermediate model” of election advertising funding.

Mr La Rue made the remarks before presenting his report on ‘freedom of expression and communication during electoral periods’ to the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the EUI.

“There are two models that go from one extreme to the other” said Mr La Rue, “in the US they’re deregulating all the expenses, anyone can spend whatever they want and in Europe you cannot buy paid publicity during the electoral process.”

“There is an intermediate model that is happening all around the world and which I think is very interesting. In Mexico for instance they just passed a law where there is paid publicity but it’s all handled by the electoral authority, not individually by parties. And it is the electoral authority that allocates the publicity in equal time and space according to the power each party showed within the last elections.”

For Mr La Rue, who has been a UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression since 2008, said that this method of party funding has an added benefit because it could break the power of media moguls to influence politicians.

“Some of the elements of donations for instance that we have discovered… are not always in cash, donations were often given in air time and coverage. So the big media concentrations, which I think harm freedom of expression in general, could negotiate positions and benefits for the future by giving free space to candidates.”

Mr La Rue was speaking at the Villa Schifanoia at an event organised by the CMPF in cooperation with the Robert Kennedy Center of Justice and Human Rights.

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