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Press Freedom Around the World The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly Why have press freedom? The pen is mightier than the sword The telegraph and photography bring the horrors of the Civil War to newspapers Photography and film show us scenes of carnage during World War 1

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Press Freedom Around the World

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press freedom around the world

Press Freedom Around the World

The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly

the pen is mightier than the sword
The pen is mightier than the sword

The telegraph and photography bring the horrors of the Civil War to newspapers

Photography and film show us scenes of carnage during World War 1

Television and newsreels bring us the news of World War 11

The Vietnam War is brought to our living rooms almost in real time with the creation of smaller cameras.

Reporters with cellphones and satellite Internet links brought us real-time coverage of the Iraq War

giving voice to the voiceless
Giving voice to the voiceless

Who will investigate crime and corruption if journalists don’t?

Who will tell the story of famine, war, poverty, natural disasters if journalists don’t?

Who will question the government if journalists don’t?

Who will determine whether TARP funds are being used properly?

Who will keep watch to see that Guantanamo is closed?

bringing our world to us
Bringing our world to us

Who would write about the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe?

Human rights violations in China?

The famine and war in Darfur?



Russia? Journalists and human rights lawyer killed last week.

immediate implications
Immediate implications

Israel will investigate allegations of the use of white phosphorous in Gaza

The price of oil—either up or down—creates the impetus for invasions and reconciliation

We see famine in Africa and send money or call our representatives

We learn of Abu Ghraib or extraordinary renditions and change happens.

We read stories about text messages between a mayor and his chief of staff—and we call for his ouster

our issues are global issues
Our issues are global issues

Poverty—homelessness in Ann Arbor or Accra

Population—overcrowding in New York or Namibia

Food—safety and security of food supply



Military expenditures

World monetary system

why isn t america no 1
Why isn’t America No. 1

Blogger Josh Wolf jailed for more than 200 days

Sami Al-Haq, Al-Jazeera cameraman, detained at Guantanamo for years

Chauncey Bailey murdered in Oakland

Can you think of other reasons?

historical imperatives what kind of press does a country want to have
Historical Imperatives:What Kind of Press Does a Country Want to Have?
  • Authoritarian or Revolutionary
    • supports and advances the policies of the government in power so the government can achieve its objectives.
    • Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia
    • “Development” media—used to serve “nation building” and “economic development—African nations.
  • Libertarian or Western
    • The functions of the media are to inform and entertain; government involvement

is considered damaging

    • Free market defines who owns the media and what the media covers
    • U.S., parts of Europe, South Africa
    • Freedom from “seditious libel.” You can criticize your government without fear of


  • Social Responsibility and Developmental
    • Government has a role to actively create a free press often through subsidies.
    • Iceland, Norway, and certain media outlets in “libertarian countries” such as the

BBC, NPR, CBC, practice elements of social responsibility model

communist press
Communist Press
  • Functions as a “mouthpiece of the government”—in which the government determines what is “best” for its citizens to know. Press seen as extension of the Communist Party or the government
    • China
    • Cuba
    • North Korea
    • The former USSR
21 st century hybridization
21st Century Hybridization

Russia—once Communist, opened up under glasnost, democratization of the country, now increasingly returning to an authoritarian or Communist model particularly for media that is seen by Russian citizens. Still has a vibrant ideal of press freedom that has cost a number of journalists their lives

African countries—press freedom is written into their constitutions, but they have no historical imperatives or laws that define what is meant by press freedom. The practice of “developmental press.”

Qatar—an open press seen as a drive toward modernity. But who defines a free press? The U.S.? How would we feel if the Emir of Qatar called asking CNN to tone down its newscasts about the Middle East?

21 st century hybridization16
21st Century Hybridization

Palestinian media can be considered revolutionary but also developmental

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez uses television to promote his “revolutionary” ideas. See Frontline documentary “The Hugo Chavez Show.”

Iran continues to advance ideals of its revolution through its press

china s uneasy stance on media
China’s Uneasy Stance on Media
  • The Internet
    • Wants to be seen as a technologically forward country, but still needs to control its message to its people.
  • Television
    • Still controls what comes into the country via satellite. But has taken a cue from libertarian media that consumers will want entertainment—at the expense of news coverage
  • Print
    • Thousands of newspapers, magazines, covering crime, sex scandals etc.
    • But information about the government is still handed down from the Propaganda Department. Example, only the government can say when there is a natural disaster or an outbreak of disease, SARS episode , or issues such as the SanLu baby milk contamination
how china and everyone else presents itself to the world
How China (And Everyone Else) Presents Itself to the World

Controlling the media is not simply about regulation and restriction, but also about looking outward—controlling and framing the messages that the rest of the world sees.

“How is that a country that invented Hollywood and Madison Avenue has such trouble promoting a positive image of itself overseas?

The view the world receives of the U.S. is filtered through our media—what view is that?

how states control the media external factors
How “States” Control the Media—External factors

The state as “patron: state ownership often deemed bad for the media. But in social responsibility models the opposite is true. Consider that NPR, funded in part by the government and “listeners like you” is considered one of the best news sources in the U.S. The BBC, funded through taxes on television sets, considered one of the best news sources in the world.

The state as “censor:” not only in countries such as China, Russia, Iran. But also in the U.S. Example: NHTSA administrator tells her staff no one can speak to the media except her. Both Obama and McCain campaigns refusing to give press conferences.

The state as “actor.” The government as a primary news source—the official word. Coverage may be clouded by our desire to get the “official word.” Examples, Florida election issues, Sept. 11, the Iraq War, Beijing Olympics. But what do we know about what is happening on the ground?

Masseur: state influencing the media through the way information is presented. Not as noticeable as the state as “actor” but may be more damaging because consumers of media don’t know the state’s role in presenting or framing the news.

Ideologue: Media adopts the definitions of the state; starts talking like the state; “War on Terror.” “Age of Responsibility.” Important to look for this in your media journals.

Conspirator: when the media are too much like the people they cover. Can a predominantly white, middle-class press accurately cover events?

regulation and restrictions more external factors
Regulation and Restrictions—more external factors

U.S.—First Amendment covers us to a point

U.K.—Press is free up to a point, but libel laws are tougher

China—freedom of the press as defined by Communist ideals

regulations and restrictions continued
Regulations and restrictions continued

Regulation and restrictions are driven by each country’s historical imperatives.

Can you instill the idea and practice of “free speech” on countries that aren’t democracies?

Does a free press matter when you don’t have access to clean water or adequate food?

internal factors that inhibit press freedom
Internal factors that inhibit press freedom

The veil of objectivity

Lack of transparency

The race for the story—not necessarily the race for the truth



free or not
Free or Not?

A free press can of course be good or bad, but certainly without freedom, it will never be anything but bad….Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better, whereas enslavement is a certainty of the worst

--Albert Camus

the final questions
The final questions:
  • government censorship
  • Information a basic human right
  • Embedding expand freedom of press and speech because it gives us insight
  • The Internet is a boon to press freedom
  • self-censorship
  • corporate ownership
  • Shouldn’t a country be able to control its messages to its people
  • Don’t “Embeds” lose their objectivity?
  • The Internet is a negative for press freedom
  • State censorship
questions to ponder
Questions to Ponder

Does technology (Internet, satellite television, mobile phones) change who is the “gatekeeper” of news?

Does globalization have the power to create a new world order of information? No longer will countries determine what we need to know—but who will?

Are we redefining national sovereignty with a global media and information network?

media journal exercise due today by 5 p m
Media Journal Exercise(Due today by 5 p.m.)

Did your country’s media give you a different perspective or angle on the Inauguration?

Look at word choice. What words stick out to you—are they biased, subjective? Are the words similar or different in the two articles?

Who is quoted? And why? Are the quotes from different people in each story?

Are the statistics the same in each story?

Are there eyewitness accounts in one story versus another that depends on what the “official” word is?

Overall tone of the stories. Do you believe one over the other?

Your own thoughts about the inauguration…

add blogs to student blog roll
Add blogs to student blog roll
  • Open two browsers
    • --open up your blog
    • Copy your blog’s url
    • Go to student blogs in the course website
    • Click edit
    • Following the template of my blog listing, type a title for your blog in the blog roll
    • Paste your blog’s url below it. Then highlight and click the link button
    • When the box pops up, paste the blog address into the top box, click insert
    • Then hit submit and view
monday jan 26
Monday Jan. 26

Guest lecture: Jack Lessenberry, senior political analyst for Michigan Radio

Read Chapter 12 in “World News Prism”

Both books are now on course reserve at the library

Send me preferences of a person you want to work with on midterm projects by Friday.

Next Wednesday’s media journal exercise: choose any story in your country’s media and compare it to a similar story in U.S. media.