Should press de liable or not english (26326-1)

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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


ee 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!


Here is another reason. Some analysts consider that the market also

fails because of low demand. Even if suppliers could "earn all their

money", they wouldn't provide the socially optimal amount of info!

Private demand for political info will never be the same as social

demand. And it will never reflect its full social value.


If it were true, that political information was regularly

underproduced by the market, there would be cause for serious

concern that might well justify generous sibsidies - in the form of

freedom from liability for the harms they cuase - for information

providers. But a proper look at modern market shows that producers

of political information have developed a wide range of strategies

for increasing the benefits of their efforts to solve the public

good problem.


The most obvious example of a spontaneously generated market

solution to the public good problem is ADVERTISING. By providing

revenue in proportion to the relative size of the audience (for

radio & TV) or the readership (for magazines & newspapers),

advertisers play a SIGNIFICANT role in the internalizing process. In


effect, the sale of advertising at a price that varies according to

the number of recipients permits information producers to

appropriate the benefits of providing a product that many people

value but few would pay for directly. Advertising has an effect of

transforming information from a public into a private good. It makes

possible for information providers to make profits by satisfying the

tastes of large audiences for whose desire to consume information

they are unable to charge directly.


Thus, customer of goods or services and citizen of any country -

are in the same conditions. Like customers - citizens may have (and

they have) different preferences for political information, but

citizens do not value information about politics only because it

contributes to their ability to vote intelligently and customers do.

Like customers - citizens' tastes differ in many ways and that

generate wide variations in the intensity of their demand for

political information.


Since it does not appear to be true, that political information

market is blocked by an ongoing problem of undersupply, the

conventional justification for granting the press broad freedom from

legal liability for the harms it causes must give away! It does not

necessarily mean that the economic case for legal sanctions has been

made. Although it seems the market could be relied upon to supply

"enough" information. So that subsidies in the form of protection

from legal liability are not needed. Personal responsibility and

legal accountability would be 100% if the information market could

internalize to producers not only the benefits but also the costs of

their activities & failures. As for victims, they'll get one more

chance to avoid the harms happened from the production of defective

information.


Legal accountability for harm is desirable in a market that

systematically fails to punish "unfair" producers for defective

products. This kind of failure occurs in two quite different cases:



1) The first occasion has to do with the market's responsiveness to

the demands of consumers. The failure occurs when customers are

unable to detect defects before purchase or to protect themselves

by taking appropriate precautions after purchase, when they are

unable to translate their willingness to pay for nondefective

products into a demand that some producers will satisfy and

profit from. It also occurs when suppliers are unable to gain any

competitive ad- vantage either by exposing defects in their

rivals' products or by touting the relative merits of their own.


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