Recommendations

The country 2014 reports on Hungary, Malaysia, Mexico, and Serbia (available under Reports) offer a series of suggestions to expose and reform soft censorship. Several are country-specific, but these eight overarching recommendations address the most salient problems of soft censorship globally:

  1. Laws and regulations guaranteeing fair and transparent official advertising should be enacted and properly enforced.
  2. Impartial audience measuring systems based on certified standards should be established to ensure that advertising allocation can be based on technical criteria.
  3. All state funding for media development and support should be allocated in public competitions on principles of transparent and non-discriminatory state aid under equal conditions for all media.
  4. All state funding for media development and support should be paid in a transparent manner, with clear audit and reporting rules.
  5. Laws should provide significant penalties to state bodies and officials violating prohibitions on use of public funds to promote individual or partisan political interests.
  6. Any state support of content production must be clearly separated from its role as advertiser, with editorial integrity explicitly guaranteed, and be subject to transparent review.
  7. All broadcast licenses and spectrum allocation should be fully, clearly, and transparently regulated by law, based on objective, clear, public, and democratic criteria.
  8. Media owners and journalists should adopt clear codes of conduct that ban accepting bribes or any other gifts or compensation that influence coverage.