This article written by Khushbu Agrawal focuses on how Mexico and Belgium are coping with political finance in the digital age. The article is published by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Here is an extract:
Mexico has, over the years, adopted innovative approaches to interpreting regulations, from defining what constitutes free speech, to placing accountability on political parties as ‘entities of public interest’, to ensuring transparency in financing reporting and enabling effective and independent oversight. In Belgium, societal debate on regulating political messages on social media platforms is ongoing at all levels of politics, although political parties have divergent views. The case study demonstrates that the main approaches to regulating party spending in Belgium are banning ads during election campaigns, placing spending caps on online advertisements, and advocating for an EU-level code of conduct for sponsored ads on social media platforms.
Guidelines shaping online campaign finance in Mexico
The Mexican case affirms that the effectiveness of a robust institutional regulatory framework is highly dependent on mechanisms on the ground for monitoring and cross-checking information provided by political actors. The case study highlights some of the distinctive features of the Mexican regulatory framework including the following:
Freedom of speech and free access to information
The Mexican Constitution guarantees the right to free speech and information in all mediums, including the Internet. It means that online political content published by individuals is unregulated while digital advertising by political parties and candidates is subject to regulations framed by the National Electoral Institute (INE for its Spanish acronym). Electoral authorities in Mexico have adopted some criteria to determine whether an online political message is subject to regulation: the costs of production involved, the timing of the message and the taxpayer status of those posting the message. In this way, Mexico uses bureaucratic means of interpretation to deal with a problem common to many.
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