Examples abound where ruling governments used the state-sponsored media to spread hatred against a community leading to their extermination. Nazi Germany did not leave a single means of mass media for anti-Jew campaign, and the Rwanda Genocide of 1994 was the most notorious for using “radio stations and newspapers which broadcast hate propaganda, urging people to “weed out the cockroaches” meaning kill the Tutsis. The names of those to be killed were read out on radio” (BBC, 2014). Perhaps a firm and well defined media regulation policy could have controlled this, or perhaps not because the government had acted against its own people.
Policy and legal regulation should begin where self-regulation ends. The role of Press Councils set up in different countries is only advisory in nature, and its findings are not binding on the editors and media platform owners (Cohen-Almagor, 2001). In the absence of well-defined regulation policies, the mass media are left to the whims of the editors who push their own ideology, or the free market mechanism that might not pay sufficient attention to any ideology. This can boomerang to the disadvantage of the state and society when a media organization goes ahead with publishing content for the sake of driving public opinion for a few vested interests in return for money and/or materialistic favours .
In the absence of proper regulatory policies and laws, several private organizations, and even district courts and state governments end up imposing arbitrary restrictions on media, solely on case-by-case basis. These are further contested in higher courts of law, and though they open up the space for much more informed debate around the need for regulation or absolute freedom, they seldom bring about any reform in the absence of a systematic approach to create a framework for regulation.