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
The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly
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
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?
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.
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
Poverty—homelessness in Ann Arbor or Accra
Population—overcrowding in New York or Namibia
Food—safety and security of food supply
World monetary system
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?
is considered damaging
BBC, NPR, CBC, practice elements of social responsibility model
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?
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
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?
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?
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
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?
The veil of objectivity
Lack of transparency
The race for the story—not necessarily the race for the truth
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
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?
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…
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.