What do you need self-regulation for, when there are laws?

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has listed arguments for self-regulation. They are referred below:

Self-regulation benefits journalists. It adds to reader’s trust towards the media, as media is supervising its own mistakes. Readers have the opportunity to critically assess whether the media fulfils the guidelines laid down by the ethical codes.

Self-regulation benefits readers. They can complain about articles for free – a legal process would be costly. Codes of ethics provide guidance on editorial standards, while complaint mechanisms offer a kind of “quality insurance”. Complaints launched with self-regulatory bodies come at no cost, unlike court proceedings. There are benefits for complaining politicians, such as the speedy resolution of disputes, and the satisfaction of seeing mistakes acknowledged publicly and voluntarily by the press.

Self-regulation adds to the independence of media, as the offenses journalists commit are punished by their colleagues, not state officials.

Self-regulation adds to the independence of media, as the offenses journalists commit are punished by their colleagues, not state officials. Also, by promoting standards, self-regulation helps maintain the media’s credibility with the public. This is particularly welcome in new democracies, most of which are also new to an independent press.

At the same time, self-regulation protects the right of journalists to be independent, and to be judged for professional mistakes not by those in power but by their colleagues. When it comes to correcting factual errors or violations of personal rights by the press, satisfaction over the judgments of self-regulatory bodies lessens pressure on the judiciary system to sanction journalists.

Self-regulation lessens the power of the state over media: when media has the responsibility to adhere to good journalistic practice for the sake of itself, and not for the sake of the state, the state does not need to interfere in the media’s activities so energetically. Self-regulation thus secures the independence and quality of journalism. Self-regulation is not a question of self-censorship, but on the contrary of the endeavor to secure conditions that are beneficial to the realization of freedom of speech.

Self-regulation is beneficial for democracy. Governments, even if freely elected, are participants in the political contest and therefore are not best-suited to enforce rationality and fairness.  Self regulation also advances the transition from a government-owned, state-controlled press to one owned and controlled by civil society.