Thursday, December 28, 2006

Countries that need to fix their media systems

I've been doing some research for a term paper on comparing democracies. Using Coppedge and Reinicke's Polyarchy and Contestation data-set, I've identified those countries which would be perfect polyarchies were it not for their media systems, where government information is privileged. They are:
  • Albania
  • Botswana
  • Cape Verde
  • Croatia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Israel and the occupied territories
  • Kiribati
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Namibia
  • Panama
  • Ukraine
These countries are doing something right. That's to say, they score a one on fair elections, freedom of political organisation, and freedom of expression. But they're falling behind in their media systems. As the coding schema for the Coppedge and Reinicke data-set puts it:
Alternative sources of information are widely available but government versions are presented in preferential fashion. This may be the result of partiality in and greater availability of government-controlled media; selective closure, punishment, harassment, or censorship of dissident reporters, publishers, or broadcasters; or mild self-censorship resulting from any of these.

(The countries in the data-set are scored using the US State Department's Human Rights Report).

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