As part of its ongoing work to strengthen Indonesia’s democratic institutions, CLD today published a comparative analysis of the rules relating to paid political advertising, with a specific focus on elections, Regulation of Paid Political Advertising: A Survey. The analysis was compiled at the behest of members of Indonesia’s Press Council, which is faced with the issue of how to ensure democratic media participation in elections.
“This analysis is part of our ongoing commitment to helping to foster Indonesia’s democratic progress,” said CLD Executive Director Toby Mendel. “We hope that this study will be instructive in helping Indonesia adopt a regulatory framework which is effective and also consistent with international human rights standards.”
The Analysis examines different country frameworks for regulating political advertising during election campaigns, and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches. Although no single regulatory formula can be said to be a model, and different cultural contexts may support the adoption of different systems, a major conclusion of the analysis is that countries tend to loosen restrictions over time, and that once moneyed interests are allowed to exert a significant interest in the electoral process it is extremely difficult to counteract this. As a result, a good lesson for countries, such as Indonesia, that are in the process of establishing regulatory frameworks is to err on the side of more stringent regulations to start with, since politically it is easier to relax these regulations than to tighten them.