Реферат: Should be press liable or not

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<span Courier New"; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">                     SHOULD PRESS BE LIABLE OR NOT?

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<span Courier New"">Recent years have increased legalaccountability of producers and

<span Courier New"">    advertisers for providing SAFE products andRELIABLE information  to

<span Courier New"">    customers. A  government  influences      a wide  range  of market

<span Courier New"">    operations from licensing requirements  to contract  actions.  That

<span Courier New"">    control announces and enforces determinednorms of quality.

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<span Courier New"">       Each of these regulations is  designed to protect consumers from

<span Courier New"">    being hurt or CHEATED by defects in thegoods and services they buy.

<span Courier New"">    This matter,  when  producers look  to  the law rather than to the

<span Courier New"">    market to establish and maintain newstandards of quality (of  their

<span Courier New"">    goods), shows, that modern market has an ability of selfregulation.

<span Courier New"">    But it also shows another unbelievablefeature:  consumers are  both

<span Courier New"">    incapable of  rationally  assessing risks and unaware of their own

<span Courier New"">    ignorance.

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<span Courier New"">       Companies and corporations all over theworld are  systematically

<span Courier New"">    inclined to  SHIRK  on quality and that without the threat oflegal

<span Courier New"">    liability may subject their customers orother people to serious  risk

<span Courier New"">    of harm from their products if it couldsave money by doing so.

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<span Courier New"">       According to this point of  view, for  most  goods and services,

<span Courier New"">    consumers are POWERLESS to get producers tosatisfy their demand for

<span Courier New"">    safe, high-quality  products!  The unregulated  market lets unfair

<span Courier New"">    producers to pass on others the costs oftheir mistakes.

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<span Courier New"">       Legal liability is ready to correct  these «market  failures»  by

<span Courier New"">    creating  a  special  mechanism (feedback),  regulating  relations

<span Courier New"">    between producers and customers. Unfairproducers should be punished

<span Courier New"">    and their exposure is increasing.

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<span Courier New"">       One market,however, has completelyESCAPED the imposition of legal

<span Courier New"">    liability. The market for political information remains  genuinely

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<span Courier New"">    free of  legally  imposed quality obligations.  The electronic mass

<span Courier New"">    media are subject to more extensivegovernment regulation than  paid

<span Courier New"">    media, but  in  their role  as  suppliers of political information,

<span Courier New"">    nothing is required  to meet  any  externally established  quality

<span Courier New"">    standards.

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<span Courier New"">       In fact, those, who gather  and report  the news,  have no legal

<span Courier New"">    obligations to be competent,  thorough or disinterested.  And those,

<span Courier New"">    who publish or broadcast it, have no legalobligation to warrant its

<span Courier New"">    truthfulness,  to  guarantee   its   relevance,  to   assure   its

<span Courier New"">    completeness.

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<span Courier New"">       The thing is: Should the politicalinformation they provide fail,

<span Courier New"">    for example,  to be truthful,  relevant, or complete,  the costs of

<span Courier New"">    this failure will not be paid by press. Instead they will be borne

<span Courier New"">    by the citizens.  Should the information intrude theprivacy  of  an

<span Courier New"">    individual  or   destroy   without justification  an  individual's

<span Courier New"">    reputation — again, the cost will not beborne by producer of it.

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<span Courier New"">       This side of «activity»of  producers  of harmful  or  defective

<span Courier New"">    information (goods,  services, etc) practically is notacknowledged.

<span Courier New"">    Producers of most goods and services  are considered  worlds  APART

<span Courier New"">    from the  press in kind,  not just in degree.  Holding producers in

<span Courier New"">    ordinary markets to ever higher standardsof liability  is  seen as

<span Courier New"">    PROCOMSUMER.   Proposing holding  the  press to  any  standard of

<span Courier New"">    liability for political information is seenas  ANTIDEMOCRATIC.  The

<span Courier New"">    press is constitutionally obligated tocheck on the government.

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<span Courier New"">       Most of policymakers justify legalliability for harms, caused by

<span Courier New"">    goods and services and quite limitedliability for harms,  caused by

<span Courier New"">    information. Liability for defectiveconsumer products is PREDICATED

<span Courier New"">    on a market failure.  As for «unfair» producers,  power of possible

<span Courier New"">    profits PREVENT  consumers  from translating their true preferences

<span Courier New"">    for safety  and  quality into  effective  demand.  So,   customer

<span Courier New"">    preferences remain  outside  the safety and quality decision-making

<span Courier New"">    process of producers.  Today, it'll be a  new  mechanism to  force

<span Courier New"">    producers to follow customers truepreferences.

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<span Courier New"">       Lack of liability  for defective or harmful politicalinformation

<span Courier New"">    can be predicated only on a different kindof supposed market failure

<span Courier New"">     — not a failure of   the market to SUPPLY the LEVEL of safetythat

<span Courier New"">    customers want but its failure tosupply  the  amount of  political

<span Courier New"">    information that society should have.  Some experts say,  that free

<span Courier New"">    market has tendency to produce«too  little»  correct information,

<span Courier New"">    especially political information.

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<span Courier New"">       The thing is: political informationis  a public good and it has

<span Courier New"">    many characteristics of a public good. Thatis a product  that  many

<span Courier New"">    people value  and  use but  only  few will pay for.  Factual(real)

<span Courier New"">    information cannot easily be restricted todirect  purchasers.  Many

<span Courier New"">    people benefit who do not pay for it because the market cannot find

<span Courier New"">    the way to charge them.  As you can  see,  providers of  political

<span Courier New"">    information try to get as much profit as possible spreading it,  so

<span Courier New"">    they HAVE TO supply «too little»info. Otherwise — the market FAILS!

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<span Courier New"">       Here is another reason. Some analystsconsider that the market also

<span Courier New"">    fails because of low demand. Even ifsuppliers could «earn all their

<span Courier New»">    money",  they wouldn't provide the socially optimalamount of  info!

<span Courier New"">    Private demand  for political info willnever be the same as social

<span Courier New"">    demand. And it will never reflect its fullsocial value.

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<span Courier New"">       If it were  true,  that political  information  was  regularly

<span Courier New"">    underproduced  by the  market,  there would  be  cause for serious

<span Courier New"">    concern that might well justify generoussibsidies — in the form  of

<span Courier New"">    freedom from  liability  for the harms they cuase — for information

<span Courier New"">    providers. But a proper look at modern market shows that  producers

<span Courier New"">    of political information  have developed a wide range of strategies

<span Courier New"">    for increasing the benefits of theirefforts  to  solve the  public

<span Courier New"">    good problem.

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<span Courier New"">       The most obvious  example  of a  spontaneously generated market

<span Courier New"">    solution to the public good problem  is ADVERTISING.  By  providing

<span Courier New"">    revenue in  proportion  to  the  relative size of the audience (for

<span Courier New"">    radio &  TV)  or the  readership  (for magazines  &  newspapers),

<span Courier New"">    advertisers play a SIGNIFICANT role in theinternalizing process. In

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<span Courier New"">    effect, the sale of advertising at a price that varies according to

<span Courier New"">    the  number   of   recipients  permits  information  producers to

<span Courier New"">    appropriate the benefits of providinga  product  that many  people

<span Courier New"">    value but few would pay for directly. Advertising has an effect of

<span Courier New"">    transforming information from a public intoa private good. It makes

<span Courier New"">    possible for information providers to makeprofits by satisfying the

<span Courier New"">    tastes of large audiences for whosedesire  to  consume information

<span Courier New"">    they are unable to charge directly.

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<span Courier New"">       Thus, customer of goods or services andcitizen of any country -

<span Courier New"">    are in the same conditions. Like customers- citizens may have (and

<span Courier New"">    they have) different  preferences  for political information,  but

<span Courier New"">    citizens do not value  information about  politics only because it

<span Courier New"">    contributes to their ability to voteintelligently and customers do.

<span Courier New"">    Like customers — citizens'  tastes differ  in  many ways and that

<span Courier New"">    generate wide  variations in  the  intensity of  their demand for

<span Courier New"">    political information.

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<span Courier New"">       Since it does not appear to be true,that  political  information

<span Courier New"">    market is  blocked  by an  ongoing  problem of  undersupply,  the

<span Courier New"">    conventional justification for granting thepress broad freedom from

<span Courier New"">    legal liability for the harms it causesmust give away!  It does not

<span Courier New"">    necessarily mean that the economic case forlegal sanctions has been

<span Courier New"">    made. Although  it  seems the market could be relied upon tosupply

<span Courier New"">    «enough» information.  So that subsidies in the form  of protection

<span Courier New"">    from legal  liability  are not needed.  Personal responsibility and

<span Courier New"">    legal accountability would be 100%  if the information market  could

<span Courier New"">    internalize to producers not only thebenefits but also the costs of

<span Courier New"">    their activities & failures.  As for victims,  they'll get one  more

<span Courier New"">    chance to avoid the harms happened from the production of defective

<span Courier New"">    information.

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<span Courier New"">       Legal accountability for harm is  desirable in  a  market  that

<span Courier New"">    systematically  fails to  punish  «unfair»  producers for defective

<span Courier New"">    products. This kind of failure occurs intwo quite different cases:

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<span Courier New"">    1) The first occasion has to do with themarket's responsiveness  to

<span Courier New"">       the demands of consumers.  The failureoccurs when customers are

<span Courier New"">       unable to detect defects before purchaseor to protect themselves

<span Courier New"">       by taking appropriate precautions after purchase,  when they are

<span Courier New"">       unable to translate theirwillingness  to  pay for  nondefective

<span Courier New"">       products into  a  demand that  some  producers will satisfy and

<span Courier New"">       profit from. It also occurs whensuppliers are unable to gain any

<span Courier New"">       competitive  ad- vantage  either  by exposing  defects in their

<span Courier New"">       rivals' products or by touting therelative merits of their own.

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<span Courier New"">    2) The second kind of market failure is aninability to  internalize

<span Courier New"">       harm to bystanders — third parties who have no dealings with the

<span Courier New"">       producers but who just happen to be inthe  wrong  place at  the

<span Courier New"">       wrong time when a productmalfunctions.  Even when these kinds of

<span Courier New"">       failures occur,  legal accountability is problematic  if it  in

<span Courier New"">       turn entails  inevitable  error in  application or requires the

<span Courier New"">       taking of  such  costly precautions  that  they cover  up  all

<span Courier New"">       benefits.

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<span Courier New"">       Conceiving of quality as  a function  of accuracy, relevanceand

<span Courier New"">    comple- teness,  consumers of political information  are not  in  a

<span Courier New"">    strong position  when  it comes to detecting quality defects in the

<span Courier New"">    political information they receive.  Revelance may well  be  within

<span Courier New"">    their ken, but since they are quite unable to verify for themselves

<span Courier New"">    either the accuracy or the completeness ofany particular account of

<span Courier New"">    political events.  In addition, since political information usually

<span Courier New"">    comes bundled  with other  entertainment  and news  features  that

<span Courier New"">    sustain their  loyality to particularsuppliers,  consumers are not

<span Courier New"">    inclined to  punish  information producers  by   avoiding  future

<span Courier New"">    patronage even when they commit anoccasional gross error.

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<span Courier New"">       Nevertheless, competition  among journalists  and publishers  of

<span Courier New"">    political information tends to create  an environment  that  is  in

<span Courier New"">    general more  conductive  to accuracy than to lies or half-truths.

<span Courier New"">    Journalistic careers can be made by  exposing others'  errors,  and

<span Courier New"">    they can  be  ruined when  a journalist is revealed tobe careless

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<span Courier New"">    about truth.  These realities create incentives forjournalists  not

<span Courier New"">    to make mistakes.

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<span Courier New"">       Moreover, the investment that mainstreampublishers and broadcas-

<span Courier New"">    ters make in their reputations forthoroughness and accuracy attests

<span Courier New"">    to the market's perceived ability to detect and reward suppliers of

<span Courier New"">    consistently high- qualityinformation.  Information suppliers  that

<span Courier New"">    cater to  more  specialized tastes play a significant role. These

<span Courier New"">    alternative ways of getting info are oftenprobe apparent  realities

<span Courier New"">    more deeply,  interprete  events with  greater  sophistication and

<span Courier New"">    analyse data more thoroughly than themainstream media are  inclined

<span Courier New"">    to do.

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<span Courier New"">       In doing so, of course,  their principal motivation is to satisfy

<span Courier New"">    their own customers.  But while pursuing this goal,  they constrain

<span Courier New"">    (even if  they  do not completely eliminate) the mainstreammedia's

<span Courier New"">    ability to portray falsehood as truthor  to OMIT  key  facts from

<span Courier New"">    otherwise apparently compelete pictures.

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<span Courier New"">       The array  of incentives  with  respect to at least the general

<span Courier New"">    quality of political information,  with which the  market confronts

<span Courier New"">    information providers  creates  systematic tendencies  for them to

<span Courier New"">    provide political info that is accurate andcomplete.  Or perhaps it

<span Courier New"">    would be slightly more precise to say that the market unfortunately

<span Courier New"">    does not appear systematically to rewardproducers of  falsehood  or

<span Courier New"">    half-truth information yet,  according to their activities.  So that

<span Courier New"">    consumers of political informationdon't  need  the club  of  legal

<span Courier New"">    liability to  force  information providers  to  provide them with

<span Courier New"">    quality information.

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<span Courier New"">       The analysts ought not to be read as anasserting that the reason

<span Courier New"">    the market for political information works well is that it provides

<span Courier New"">    just the right kind and quality ofinformation  to  each individual

<span Courier New"">    citizen and  that each individual citizenhas identical preferences

<span Courier New"">    for info about government.  Indeed, the premise of this argument is

<span Courier New"">    that the  market  works because citizens (or customers) do nothave

<span Courier New"">    identical preferences and producersexploit  that  fact by  finding

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<span Courier New"">    ways to  cater  to and profit from the varying demands of adiverse

<span Courier New"">    citizenry.  An   implicit   assumption  provides   the   normative

<span Courier New"">    underpinnings for the analysis.  Obviously, the full implications of

<span Courier New"">    this assumption cannot be worked out here.

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<span Courier New"">       The claim  that the  market  in general  «works»  shouldn't be

<span Courier New"">    understood as a claim that the informationit generates is uniformly

<span Courier New"">    edifying and never distorted. As you knowmany information producers

<span Courier New"">    pander to the public's appetite for scandal and still others see to

<span Courier New"">    it. These facts do not  warrant  the conclusion  that  the market

<span Courier New"">    doesn't work.

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<span Courier New"">       More significantly,  it seems  inconceivable  that any system of

<span Courier New"">    government regulation — including  a  system  in which  information

<span Courier New"">    producers are  liable  for «defective» information — could in fact

<span Courier New"">    systematically  generate a  flow  of political  information   that

<span Courier New"">    consistently  provided more  citizens with the qualityand quantity

<span Courier New"">    thatmet their own needs as they themselves defined than  does  the

<span Courier New"">    competition in the marketplace of ideasthat we presently enjoy.

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<span Courier New"">       This analysis  suggests that  the  workings of the market create

<span Courier New"">    situation in which consumers of politicalinformation  do  not need

<span Courier New"">    the threat  of  producer liability  to  guarantee that  they  are

<span Courier New"">    systematically getting a TRUSTWORTHYproduct.

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<span Courier New"">       But consumers are not the only  potential victims  of  defective

<span Courier New"">    information and market incentives are notalways adequate to protect

<span Courier New"">    NONCONSUMER victims from the harm ofdefective information. Innocent

<span Courier New"">    bystanders, such  as pedestrians hit bydefective motorcycles,  are

<span Courier New"">    sometimes hurt by products over whoseproducers they have no control

<span Courier New"">    either as consumers or competitors.Persons, who find themselves the

<span Courier New"">    unwitting subjects of defectiveinformation,  stand in an  analogous

<span Courier New"">    position.

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<span Courier New"">       For example,   a  story  about  sexual assault  might  be  very

<span Courier New"">    interesting for public and might serve wellthe public  interest  in

<span Courier New"">    being informed about the police efforts or criminal justice system.

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<span Courier New"">    But the victim's name is  NOT NECESSARY  to  its  purpose  and its

<span Courier New"">    publication both invades her privacy andbroke her safety.  In cases

<span Courier New"">    like this, it's not so easy to haveconfidence in market incentives.

<span Courier New"">    The harm  from  the defect  is  highly concentrated on the single

<span Courier New"">    defamed or exposed individual.

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<span Courier New"">       Now, it's time to ask the majorquestion:  Should  the press  be

<span Courier New"">    permitted to  externalize particularizedharms?  Why should not the

<span Courier New"">    press, like other business entities,  beliable when defects in its

<span Courier New"">    products  cause particularized harm to individual third parties who

<span Courier New"">    have few means of self-protection at theirdisposal?

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<span Courier New"">       According to the Constitution,  defamed public officials or  rape

<span Courier New"">    victims should  have  access to  massmedia  for rebuttal.  As for

<span Courier New"">    everyday practice,  the press is not always eager to give  space to

<span Courier New"">    claims that it has erred.  There are twoobjections,  why the press

<span Courier New"">    shouldn't be responsible for the harm ofsuch  kind:  accountability

<span Courier New"">    to a  more  demanding legal standard would compromise itsfinancial

<span Courier New"">    viability and undermine its independence.

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<span Courier New"">       These objections are too  SELF-SERVING to  be  taken completely

<span Courier New"">    seriously: The  financial  viability argument is no more persuasive

<span Courier New"">    when the product of the press harmsinnocent third parties  than  it

<span Courier New"">    is  when   other   manufacturers'   malfunctioning   products harm

<span Courier New"">    bystanders. As  press  doesn't  underproduce   information,   thus

<span Courier New"">    «freedom» from liability can't bedefended as necessary subsidy. The

<span Courier New"">    «financial viability»objection  points  toward the  imposition  of

<span Courier New"">    liability for harm.

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<span Courier New"">       The need to  maintain  the press's independence from government

<span Courier New"">    does provide  support for  the  press's objection  that  liability

<span Courier New"">    threatens them  unduly.  But it's  hard  to sustain the claim that

<span Courier New"">    government's censorious hand would lurkbehind a rule that  required

<span Courier New"">    the press  to  compensete individuals.  It  is not  obvious  that

<span Courier New"">    enforcing a rule that simply prohibitedpublishing the names of rape

<span Courier New"">    victims would signal the beginning of theend of our cherished press

<span Courier New"">    freedom.

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<span Courier New"">       Asking whether the press should be morelegally accountable  than

<span Courier New"">    it is now for publishing defamatory falsehoods about individuals or

<span Courier New"">    revealing rape victims' names touches anumber of difficult,  highly

<span Courier New"">    discussed questions. In spite of the fact,by recasting a portion of

<span Courier New"">    the debate over legal accountability andby  focusing  attention on

<span Courier New"">    the  disparity   of   legal treatment  between  producers in  the

<span Courier New"">    information market  and  those in  other  markets for  goods  and

<span Courier New"">    services, it  does  seem possible  to gain some fresh andpossibly

<span Courier New"">    useful insight.

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<span Courier New"">       The reality seems to be that,  with respect to  the quality  and

<span Courier New"">    quantity  of   political   information, free  competition  in  the

<span Courier New"">    marketplace of ideas performs  admirably, with  inventive  ways of

<span Courier New"">    overcoming market  failure  and with  flexibility in adapting to a

<span Courier New"">    countless consumers preferences.

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<span Courier New"">       In light of this reality it ought not tobe amiss to suggest that

<span Courier New"">    when neither the threat of increasing asupposed undersupply nor the

<span Courier New"">    looming shadow of government censorship isimplicated, the massmedia

<span Courier New"">    should be liable for egregious errors.

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