Private Regulation, Freedom of Expression and Journalism: Towards a European Approach?

EUI Working Papers - LAW 2012/20

47 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2012 Last revised: 20 Dec 2013

See all articles by Fabrizio Cafaggi

Fabrizio Cafaggi


Federica Casarosa

European University Institute - Centre for Judicial Cooperation

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Date Written: July 16, 2012


The increasing role of electronic media in news and, more generally, in content production is changing the scope and boundaries of the journalism profession and the instruments deployed to regulate the activity. Historically, journalism has primarily been self-regulated. The limits of public legislation, mainly driven by the constitutional constraints posed by the freedom of expression, have created different models of national private regulatory regimes across Europe. Media regulation is a multilevel architecture and national legal systems still play a primary role in designing rules concerning news production. Self-regulation reflects national approaches and varies according to legal and social regulatory cultures. Within the private sphere, different forms of regulation have been implemented reflecting the changing balance between the profession, the industries and the new players which have emerged after the Web revolution. The development of new media poses the following important challenges to that regulatory framework: the criteria to be used to define journalism; the distinction and the boundaries between professional and non-professional journalism; the distinction between commercial and social/not for profit content production.

This essay will examine these challenges looking at practice and litigation in European countries, identifying the different conflicting interests generating this litigation and the (private) regulatory responses. It will explore the differences between professional and industry regulation both within and across media: looking at the national and European or transnational regulatory scope of these regimes.

Keywords: Private regulation, professional journalism, jurisprudence, freedom of expression

Suggested Citation

Cafaggi, Fabrizio and Casarosa, Federica, Private Regulation, Freedom of Expression and Journalism: Towards a European Approach? (July 16, 2012). EUI Working Papers - LAW 2012/20, Available at SSRN: or

Fabrizio Cafaggi

Independent ( email )

Federica Casarosa (Contact Author)

European University Institute - Centre for Judicial Cooperation ( email )

VIa Boccaccio 121
50033 Firenze
Florence, Florence 50033

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