How Data Governance Affects Media Freedom

January 8, 2021

Media organizations have to better understand data regulation. Failure to do so can badly hurt them.

Our social activity is becoming increasingly quantified. More and more countries try to regulate cross-border data flows, the process of transferring data from point A to point B.

However, such restrictions are often associated with restrictions on media freedom, according to a new report published today by the Center for Media, Data and Society, aimed at providing a new context for media organizations on how to think about cross-border data flows and better understand what impact these flows can have on their freedom.

Today, media rely on constant cross-border flows of data, more so than any other industries. Still, “media organizations are not prepared to handle the impact of data regulation on media freedom as they do not engage in the data policymaking, have low data literacy and lack a toolkit to fight against misuse of various forms of data regulation,” Adil Nussipov, the report’s author wrote.

This report is the first of its kind, providing a quantitative measure of data and media restrictions in 64 countries. It also provides a conceptual background for data flows, introducing three main data governance models, frameworks of rules on governing a particular issue or area with a set of policy tools and political goals that are common across countries.

The study offers novel frameworks for analyzing these data governance models across countries and understanding how these data governance models affect media freedom. It also puts forward a series of policy recommendations.

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