Over stressing the rights-safeguarding role of democracy has led to a widespread neglect of democracy’s essential function: to ensure the legitimacy of elected rulers and by doing so, to ensure political stabil- ity. The effects of this neglect are apparent in the disputes that arise concerning media coverage of elec- tions. This article examines the difﬁculties democratic statesmen face to justify and consistently implement arrangements that limit the freedom of expression of the media in order to minimize the challenges to the legitimacy of electoral outcomes that a biased coverage of elections could incite. Current democratic theory does not address this problem. Indeed its emphasis on safeguarding the rights of citizens can suggest that the freedom of expression of the media should prevail over considerations of legitimacy and stability. This study examines the justiﬁcations adduced, and the implementation of, arrangements that curtail the right to advocacy of broadcasters and limit their right to editorial discretion in order to provide political parties with what I refer to here as “fair media coverage.” In particular, the article highlights and assesses the experiences in fair media coverage of election campaigns in the British General Elec- tion of 1997 and the Mexican Federal Election of 2000. In full view of these case studies, and on the basis of the theoretical guidelines I develop at the beginning of this article, I argue for limiting freedom of expression and stress the urgent need for democratic theories to address the practical problems that trouble democratic authorities.
- Great Britain,
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