Weak Regulation

Insufficient legal safeguards

With a history of state media regulation suffocating the emergence of private and commercial media, the 1992 Constitution changed this situation to almost no regulatory safeguards concerning the operation of media outlets. It rather encourages, without stating so, limitless controlling influence by those who can afford to establish and operate newspapers, journals and any other form of mass media. No provisions regulate the media environment to prevent concentration of ownership and monopolies, for example by blocking mergers or acquisitions above a certain threshold; not even the general competition body would interfere - unless stock-listed companies are concerned. In particular, there are

The pending Broadcasting Bill in its current draft would address the issue of concentration as it foresees restrictions on the holding of authorisations: a person or entity could attain a maximum of three in total, with each of those being in a different region. Its passage would also see the two main regulatory authorities – the National Media Commission and the National Communication Authority – collaborate more effectively and being equipped with greater responsibilities and powers to regulate, monitor and enforce compliance of clear provisions to make media ownership transparent and avoid concentration and monopolies.

Two Regulators and a large gap in-between

The National Media Commission (NMC) and National Communication Authority (NCA)  are the two existing regulatory authorities with different mandates, different levels of (in-) dependency and a very low level of collaboration.

The NMC is mainly responsible for monitoring any type of media content, by also serving as a complaint body, but lacks effective means of sanctioning. The NCA, in turn, issues licenses and thus has also the power to revoke them, but monitors the whole market of telecommunications only in a merely technical fashion. The two bodies do not only differ in their mandate but also regarding the institutional set-up, funding, sanctioning powers, and compliance as listed below:

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