Category Archives: Tuesday 28.10.14 – the Political economy of the media: radical versus liberal theories of the press

Seminar Reflection – Siebert et al.

In this week’s seminar we discussed the four normative theories of the press. In addition, we assessed the relevance of libertarian theory to developing countries in the context of the four theories of the press. The four theories all serve a different purpose. The first one is the ‘Authoritarian model’, which suggests that the press are under the control of the government. Authoritarian press must control the media to protect the public from national threats through any form of communication through the media or otherwise. The ‘Libertarian theory’ does no longer serve the government, instead it serves as a watchdog; a mechanism through which the public may check on the government. The press is considered entirely free from government influence and control. Furthermore, the third press model is the ‘Social Responsibility’ theory. This model says that the media should be socially responsible and must present all sides and angles of a story fairly and accurately. Finally, the last normative theory is the ‘Soviet Totalitarian’ model. In it, the media are not privately owned but rather owned by the state. The Soviets argued that the press couldn’t be entirely free because it is controlled by business and economics. In addition, we discussed the media in Asia, particularly China. We argued that China’s press comes close to the Authoritarian model; it is under the control and influence of the government. It is completely regulated and monitor by the state and the media are not allowed to go against the government through the press and must publish articles in favour of the ruler’s power. Therefore, the state has all the right and possesses complete power to implement censorship methods in order to protect the authorities from sensitive issues. The Chinese argue that censorship and restriction of freedom of expressions ensures to maintain security and peace in the nation.

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