"The obligations of the private media [in an electoral context] are far fewer [than those on the public media]. The essence of a free media environment is that broadcasters and journalist are not told what they may or may not say or write. The best guarantee that the variety of political ideas are communicated freely and accurately is often understood to be for the media to be allowed to get on with the job unhampered. But this does not mean that private media have no obligations at all. Professional journalistic standards will demand accurate and balanced reporting, as well as a clear separation of fact and comment. Broadcasting stations usually have their licenses allocated by a public body. This will often come with terms attached about whether they are allowed to support any political party; what, if any, news coverage they are allowed to broadcast; and other conditions such as whether they have an obligation, for example, to broadcast public service announcements such as voter education spots."
ACE: The Electoral Knowledge Network: The ACE Encyclopaedia: Media and Elections, p. 84

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The ACE Encyclopaedia: Media and Elections