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Normative Theories Of The Press

Normative Theory
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Descriptive statements are falsifiable statements that attempt to describe reality. By contrast, normative statements affirm how things should or ought to be, how to value them, which things are good or bad. Normative theories of the press: Ideal views of how journalism/ media ought to, or are expected to, operate – what is desirable in relation to both structure and performance): “Journalists/ journalism should or could do this or that.”

Structure and Performance   Structure – e.g. genres. how the media carry out their chosen or allotted informative or entertaining tasks. Performance – e. freedom from the state. multiplicity of different channels.g. professional guidelines and ethical rules. . Conventions. which apply to what the media do.

Peterson. Siebert. 1956) Basic theories:  Authoritarian Theory  Libertarian Theory Variations:  Social responsibility Theory  Soviet communist Theory .Four Theories of the Press The Four Theories of the Press (Schramm.

(Mass Communication Theory: An Introduction):  Development Media Theory  Democratic-participant Theory .McQuail’s Addition In Theories Of The Press Additions made by Denis McQuail.

subject to greater control in some countries  . but can also be seen in less authoritarian societies (particularly in times of war. terrorism) Depends on the media forms specially Print Journalism and TV .Authoritarian Theory  Applies to authoritarian societies.

Censorship justified in the application of these principles. violation of moral codes. Press should be subordinate to vested power and authority. Press should avoid acting in contravention of prevailing moral and political values. Criminalisation of editorial attacks on vested power.Authoritarian Assumptions      Press should do nothing to undermine vested power and interests. . deviations from official policy.

Examples: Fascist regimes. communist countries Current example from the modern world. Absolute power of state versus subservience of the individual – press „freedom‟ a right vested in the state.     Media as instrument / mouthpiece to publicise and propagandise government ideology and actions. must to have a license for all. Whatever the publications are. Albania . some African countries.

philosophical climate of the Enlightenment Undermined authoritarianism – emphasis on personal freedom and democracy The idea that people are rational – can distinguish between truth and falsehood. and between good and evil.Libertarian Theory A Road to Modernised Press    Modernity: Rise of democracy. . religious freedom. expansion of economic freedom.

 Freedom to publish without prior restriction – independence from government.  Public has access to wide diversity of opinion (only limitation on freedom to publish is public willingness to pay).  .  Market-based diversity promotes public rationality – free marketplace of ideas and information as a self-righting mechanism. Classical Liberal Perspective: Free market as foundation of free media. minimises bias and exposes weak arguments and evidence.

e. overseeing the state. the ones that the people of power do not want told. the free market. Another Strand in Liberal Tradition:     Media as representative agency („Fourth Estate‟ alongside executive. can muckraking journalism co-exist with objective journalism? . The Observer But. “The best stories are those that afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Watchdog reveals abuses in the exercise of state authority… this role overrides all other functions of the media and dictates the form in which the media should be organised.” Peter Beaumont and John Sweeney. i. legislative and judicial authorities)) or as a watchdog protecting the public (individuals rights).

   Objectivity: As newspapers gradually lost their party affiliations. . Press is source of information and platform for expression of a range of divergent opinions. Independence from government control and influence – if media is subject to public regulation it will lose its bite as a watchdog. journalists worked to establish their independence as searchers after “objective truth”. enables people to monitor government and form ideas about policy.

. a means to an end. (My freedom ends where yours begins). or an absolute right? Freedom can be abused. Absolute freedom is anarchy. like property and patriarchy. which is the sum of individual opinion. Mill: The freedom of the individual constrained by the freedom of other individuals. How should media relate to representative structures as distinct from individuals – role of media in mediating class and other conflict in society? Also. little account of how power is exercised through non-state structures. Is a free press and end in itself.   Curran: Society seen as an aggregation of individuals – media‟s representative role conceived primarily in terms of articulating public opinion.

but. privacy. moral development of individuals or groups. . also the introduction of press laws designed to protect individual rights (protection of reputation. security of the state) – could override the right of the press‟s freedom to publish. Abolition of censorship.  Boundaries of freedom defined in such a way that they do not infringe the rights of the individual.

 Freedom of access to information. Assumptions: Press should be free from any external censorship.  Publication and distribution should be accessible to any individual or group with a permit or license.  Attacks on governments or parties should not be punishable.  .  No coercion to publish anything.

Media should meet certain standards. Independence of media emphasised in relation to their responsibility towards society. Media operate in capitalist economy. . Media are under obligation to fulfil their social functions (transmission of information and creation of a forum for different viewpoints). Premises (McQuail):     Media have important function to fulfil in society (support democratic political principles). 1947 – reaffirmed the principles of freedom/ independence but added to them the notion of social responsibility. but some believe the market can function benignly (not just in the interests of shareholders but of all people).Social Responsibility Theory    Hutchins Commission.

 Solutions to the Problem (of Reconciling Freedom With Responsibility):  Regulation Promotion of political and cultural pluralism – independent public institutions for control of broadcasting  Balance of public and private ownership   Professionalism: Codes of conduct  Training and continuing development of professionalism.  . to advance and nurture balanced and impartial news presentation.

violence or social disruption. . as well as information that can offend ethnic or religious minorities Media collectively should represent all social groups and reflect the diversity of society by giving people access to a variety of viewpoints and opportunity to react to them. Society entitled to high standards and intervention justifiable if the media fail to meet these standards. accuracy. objectivity and balance of their reporting Media should apply self-regulation Media should avoid publicising information that can lead to crime. More Principles (McQuail):       Media should accept responsibilities towards society Media should fulfil responsibilities by setting professional standards with regards to the supply of information and the truth.

Communist press – no profit motive. elite interests in Soviet society .Soviet Communist Press Theory   Western notions of freedom of press rejected by Soviet block as being fundamentally „unfree‟ because Western media are controlled by capitalist economic interests (prevent them from publishing the Marxist truth). It means that it did not foreground special.

such as socialisation (to make people conform to desirable norms). the supply of information. motivation and mobilisation of the masses  Media should respond to the desire and needs of their recipients  . education. Assumptions: Media should act in the interests of and be controlled by the working class  Media should not be under private control  Media should perform positive functions for society.

 More Assumptions: Society has right to use censorship and other legal measures to prevent and punish antisocial publication  Media should reflect complete and objective view of world and society in terms of MarxistLeninist principles  Media should support communist movements everywhere  .

but of dominant groups and classes Concepts like free press.” Paulo Freire . the public interest.  “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful. not to be neutral. objectivity. democracy.A political critique:  A Brief Critique Of Libertarian And Social Responsibility Theories   Journalism in capitalist societies functions in the interests not of society as a whole. neutrality seen as usual tradition All research processes – including journalism – seen as value-laden and methodological decisions political.

.  Commodification of culture:   Are we being addressed as citizens or as consumers? Shift away from involving people in societies as political citizens of nation states towards involving them as consumption units in a globalized corporate world.  Governmental secrecy.  Institutionalised racist and patriarchal codes. Other Problems With Modern Media: Lack of democracy within media organisations.

2003) .Additions of Denis Mcquail Development Media Theory    This theory is related to Media operations and development in the third world countries Media are seen as struggling to fulfil social and Political duties in these states In this theory it is considered that “BAD NEWS IS GOOD NEWS” because it commands bigger headlines (Watson.

   The theory illustrates that the bad news story must be treated very carefully as it can be damaging for the nations. specially economical growth It also explains the importance of cultures of different culture of third world It can be said that this theory is both. The Theory of State Support and Resistance .

Democratic-Participant Theory    This theory tells about. The new media trends and developments in the world Criticism on the private and public monopoly in mass media Democratic Participant Theory doesn‟t warrant a separate normative classification (Mcquail) .

   It stands for defence against commercialization and monopoly Resistant to centralism and bureaucracy watson. 2003 The role of receiver in the process of communication and incorporated receiver‟s rights  To receive the relevant information  To reply  To be informed on the local issues  To use the new means of communication for interaction and social setting of community. interest group or sub-culture .

especially Libertarian Theories The libertarian theory promotes the doctrine of “FREEDOM OF PRESS” . the difference is only that the press under authoritarian system can be private owned while in Soviet Theory it is public owned property In other words the Soviet Authoritarian system can also be called the totalitarian system The authoritarian theory has least similarities with rest of the theories.Conclusion      The Authoritarian and Libertarian Theories are the basic theories while others are related to these two The Authoritarian theory is the ancient form of the Soviet Theory.

Democratic participant Theory and even with Development Media Theory All these inter-related theories ensure the protection of individual rights However. so we can say that the implementation of these theories may not be correlated with the system .    The Libertarian Theory flourishes in democratic societies that is why it has maximum similarities with Social Responsibility. these related theories have far less faith in the protection of individual rights than Libertarian theory In modern world the systems of states differ a lot.