Against the backdrop of transforming patterns of content production, dissemination and use, as well as the changed governance landscape in the Internet age, this paper seeks to emphasize the point that media can no longer be taken as a self-contained policy domain reserved for the nation state.

It raises awareness of the necessity for a broader understanding of the relevant societal and governance processes and sketches the new challenge to ensure a coherent regulatory framework for Internet content. In this sense, the paper seeks to address the question of appropriate forms of regulating Internet content and pleads for a recalibrated action in the domain of global media law and policy, in particular with regard to network neutrality and Internet filtering.

The regulation of content, understood here as a term encompassing film, video, audio and television – or “audiovisual services” in the parlance of the World Trade Organization (WTO), – used to be entrusted to national media law and policy. A number of concerns have traditionally motivated state intervention, related to the specific nature of the media and media markets and to the specific function that they are entrusted to play in society.

About the author: Mira Burri is a senior fellow and a lecturer at the World Trade Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland. She leads a project on digital technologies and trade governance and teaches courses in international media, intellectual property and trade law. She is one of sixteen experts who participated in Phase 1 of the Global Governance Reform Initiative, which focused on the governance of cyberspace.