Journalism and Freedom of Speech Essay

Journalism- Journalism is the investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience about topics ranging from government and business organizations to cultural aspects of society such as arts and entertainment. The field includes editing, photojournalism, and documentary. In modern society, news media have become the chief purveyor of information and opinion about public affairs; but the role and status of journalism, along with other forms of mass media, are undergoing changes resulting from the Internet.This has resulted in a shift toward reading on e-readers, smartphones, and other electronic devices rather than print media and has faced news organizations with the ongoing problem of monetizing on digital news. It remains to be seen which news organizations can make the best of the advent of digital media and whether or not print media can survive. History Johann Carolus’s Relation aller Furnemmen und gedenckwurdigen Historian, published in 1605 in Strasburg, is often recognized as the first newspaper.

The first successful English daily, the Daily Courant, was published from 1702 to 1735.The reform of the Dario Carioca newspaper in the 1950s is usually referred to as the birth of modern journalism in Brazil. Role In the 1920s, as modern journalism was just taking form, writer Walter Lippmann and American philosopher John Dewey debated over the role of journalism in a democracy. Their differing philosophies still characterize a debate about the role of journalism in society and the nation-state.

Lippmann understood that journalism’s role at the time was to act as a mediator or translator between the public and policy making elites. The journalist became the middleman.When elites spoke, journalists listened and recorded the information, distilled it, and passed it on to the public for their consumption. His reasoning behind this was that the public was not in a position to deconstruct the growing and complex flurry of information present in modern society, and so an intermediary was needed to filter news for the masses. Lippmann put it this way: The public is not smart enough to understand complicated, political issues. Furthermore, the public was too consumed with their daily lives to care about complex public policy.

Therefore the public needed someone to interpret the decisions or concerns of the elite to make the information plain and simple. Lippmann believed that the public would affect the decision-making of the elite with their vote. In the meantime, the elite (i. e. politicians, policy makers, bureaucrats, scientists, etc.

) would keep the business of power running. In Lippmann’s world, the journalist’s role was to inform the public of what the elites were doing. It was also to act as a watchdog over the elites, as the public had the final say with their votes.Effectively that kept the public at the bottom of the power chain, catching the flow of information that is handed down from experts/elites. Lippmann’s elitism has had consequences that he came to deplore. An apostle of historicism and scientism, Lippmann did not merely hold that democratic government was a problematic exercise, but regarded all political communities, of whatever stripe, as needing guidance from a transcendent partisanship for accurate information and dispassionate judgment.

In “Liberty and the News” (1919) and “Public Opinion” (1921) Lippmann expressed the hope that liberty could be redefined to take account of the scientific and historical perspective and that public opinion could be managed by a system of intelligence in and out of government. Thus the liberty of the journalist was to be dedicated to gathering verifiable facts while commentators like him would place the news in the broader perspective. Lippmann deplored the influence of powerful newspaper publishers and preferred the judgments of the “patient and fearless men of science. In so doing, he did not merely denigrate the opinion of the majority but also of those who had influence or power as well. In a republican form of government, the representatives are chosen by the people and share with them adherence to the fundamental principles and political institutions of the polity.

Lippmann’s quarrel was with those very principles and institutions, for they are the product of the pre-scientific and pre-historical viewpoint and what for him was a groundless natural rights political philosophy.But Lippmann turned against what he called the “collectivism” of the Progressive movement he encouraged with its de-emphasis on the foundations of American politics and government and ultimately wrote a work, “The Public Philosophy” (1955), which came very close to a return to the principles of the American founders. Dewey, on the other hand, believed the public was not only capable of understanding the issues created or responded to by the elite; it was in the public forum that decisions should be made after discussion and debate.

When issues were thoroughly vetted, then the best ideas would bubble to the surface.Dewey believed journalists should do more than simply pass on information. He believed they should weigh the consequences of the policies being enacted. Over time, his idea has been implemented in various degrees, and is more commonly known as “community journalism”. This concept of community journalism is at the center of new developments in journalism.

In this new paradigm, journalists are able to engage citizens and the experts/elites in the proposition and generation of content. It’s important to note that while there is an assumption of equality, Dewey still celebrates expertise.Dewey believes the shared knowledge of many is far superior to a single individual’s knowledge. Experts and scholars are welcome in Dewey’s framework, but there is not the hierarchical structure present in Lippmann’s understanding of journalism and society. According to Dewey, conversation, debate, and dialogue lie at the heart of a democracy.

While Lippmann’s journalistic philosophy might be more acceptable to government leaders, Dewey’s approach is a better description of how many journalists see their role in society, and, in turn, how much of society expects journalists to function.Americans, for example, may criticize some of the excesses committed by journalists, but they tend to expect journalists to serve as watchdogs on government, businesses and actors, enabling people to make informed decisions on the issues of the time. Elements Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel propose several guidelines for journalists in their book The Elements of Journalism. [4] Because journalism’s first loyalty is to the citizenry, journalists are obliged to tell the truth and must serve as an independent monitor of powerful individuals and institutions within society.The essence of journalism is to provide citizens with reliable information through the discipline of verification. Controversy Objective journalism is the desire and aim of every society and media house. However, such noble aspiration is beclouded and usurped by sycophancy and sycophantic reporting.

This development denies the public the right to true information and invariably leads to loss of reputation by the media house. A research by Nnamdi Azikiwe University, discuss the reason for its unbridled spread and its effects on the public. [5] Professional and ethical standardsIn the UK, all newspapers are bound by the Code of Practice of the Commission. This includes points like respecting people’s privacy and ensuring accuracy. However, the Media Standards Trust has criticized the PCC, claiming it needs to be radically changed to secure public trust of newspapers. This is in stark contrast to the media climate prior to the 20th century, where the media market was dominated by smaller newspapers and pamphleteers who usually had an overt and often radical agenda, with no presumption of balance or objectivity.

Failing to uphold standardsSuch a code of conduct can, in the real world, be difficult to uphold consistently. Journalists who believe they are being fair or objective may give biased accounts—by reporting selectively, trusting too much to anecdote, or giving a partial explanation of actions. Even in routine reporting, bias can creep into a story through a reporter’s choice of facts to summarize, or through failure to check enough sources, hear and report dissenting voices, or seek fresh perspectives. A news organization’s budget inevitably reflects decision-making about what news to cover, for what audience, and in what depth.Those decisions may reflect conscious or unconscious bias. When budgets are cut, editors may sacrifice reporters in distant news bureaus; reduce the number of staff assigned to low-income areas, or wipe entire communities from the publication’s zone of interest. Publishers, owners and other corporate executives, especially advertising sales executives, can try to use their powers over journalists to influence how news is reported and published.

Journalists usually rely on top management to create and maintain a “firewall” between the news and other departments in a news organization to prevent undue influence on the news department.One journalism magazine, Columbia Journal Review, has made it a practice to reveal examples of executives who try to influence news coverage, of executives who do not abuse their powers over journalists, and of journalists who resist such pressures. Legal status Governments have widely varying policies and practices towards journalists, which control what they can research and write, and what press organizations can publish. Some governments guarantee the freedom of the press; while other nations severely restrict what journalists can research and/or publish.Journalists in many nations have some privileges that members of the general public do not; including better access to public events, crime scenes and press conferences, and to extended interviews with public officials, celebrities and others in the public eye. Journalists who elect to cover conflicts, whether wars between nations or insurgencies within nations, often give up any expectation of protection by government, if not giving up their rights to protection by government. Journalists who are captured or detained during a conflict are expected to be treated as civilians and to be released to their national government.

Many governments around the world target journalists for intimidation, harassment, and violence because of the nature of their work. [6] Right to protect confidentiality of sources Journalists’ interaction with sources sometimes involves confidentiality, an extension of freedom of the press giving journalists a legal protection to keep the identity of a confidential informant private even when demanded by police or prosecutors; withholding sources can land journalists in contempt of court, or in jail. In the United States, there is no right to protect sources in a federal court.However, federal courts will refuse to force journalists to reveal sources, unless the information the court seeks is highly relevant to the case and there’s no other way to get it. State courts provide varying degrees of such protection. Journalists who refuse to testify even when ordered to can be found in contempt of court and fined or jailed.

Freedom of the press Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through mediums including various electronic media and published materials. While such freedom mostly implies the absence of nterference from an overreaching state, its preservation may be sought through constitutional or other legal protections. With respect to governmental information, any government may distinguish which materials are public or protected from disclosure to the public based on classification of information as sensitive, classified or secret and being otherwise protected from disclosure due to relevance of the information to protecting the national interest. Many governments are also subject to sunshine laws or freedom of information legislation that are used to define the ambit of national interest.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers” This philosophy is usually accompanied by legislation ensuring various degrees of freedom of scientific research (known as scientific freedom), publishing, press and printing the depth to which these laws are entrenched in a country’s legal system can go as far down as its constitution.The concept of freedom of speech is often covered by the same laws as freedom of the press, thereby giving equal treatment to spoken and published expression Status of press freedom worldwideBeyond legal definitions, several non-governmental organizations use other criteria to judge the level of press freedom around the world: •Reporters Without Borders considers the number of journalists murdered, expelled or harassed, and the existence of a state monopoly on TV and radio, as well as the existence of censorship and self-censorship in the media, and the overall independence of media as well as the difficulties that foreign reporters may face. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) uses the tools of journalism to help journalists by tracking press freedom issues through independent research, fact-finding missions, and firsthand contacts in the field, including local working journalists in countries around the world.

CPJ shares information on breaking cases with other press freedom organizations worldwide through the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a global e-mail network. CPJ also tracks journalist deaths and detentions.CPJ staff applies strict criteria for each case; researchers independently investigate and verify the circumstances behind each death or imprisonment. •Freedom House likewise studies the more general political and economic environments of each nation in order to determine whether relationships of dependence exist that limit in practice the level of press freedom that might exist in theory. So the concept of independence of the press is one closely linked with the concept of press freedom.

Worldwide press freedom indexEvery year, Reporters without Borders establishes a ranking of countries in terms of their freedom of the press. The Worldwide press freedom index list is based on responses to surveys sent to journalists that are members of partner organizations of the RWB, as well as related specialists such as researchers, jurists and human rights activists. The survey asks questions about direct attacks on journalists and the media as well as other indirect sources of pressure against the free press, such as non-governmental groups.RWB is careful to note that the index only deals with press freedom, and does not measure the quality of journalism. In 2011-2012, the countries where press was the most free were Finland and Norway followed by Estonia, Netherlands, Austria, Iceland, and Luxembourg. The country with the least degree of press freedom was Eritrea, followed by North Korea, Turkmenistan, Syria, Iran, and China India The Indian Constitution, while not mentioning the word “press”, provides for “the right to freedom of speech and expression” (Article 19(1) a).

However this right is subject to restrictions under sub clause (2), whereby this freedom can be restricted for reasons of “sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, preserving decency, preserving morality, in relation to contempt, court, defamation, or incitement to an offense”. Laws such as the Official Secrets Act and Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (PoTA) have been used to limit press freedom.Under PoTA, person could be detained for up to six months for being in contact with a terrorist or terrorist group.

PoTA was repealed in 2006, but the Official Secrets Act 1923 continues. For the first half-century of independence, media control by the state was the major constraint on press freedom. Indira Gandhi famously stated in 1975 that All India Radio is “a Government organ, it is going to remain a Government organ… ” With the liberalization starting in the 1990s, private control of media has burgeoned, leading to increasing independence and greater scrutiny of government.Journalists Ethics Code Journalists’ main goal is to ensure the right of citizens to truthful and important information, which allows them to form adequate impression about social processes, their essence and importance, about the situation in the modern world. The journalist bears responsibility before the society in general, before the law and before the professional association.

The social responsibility of the journalist requires that he acts in accordance with his personal ethical standards.The ethics of the trade involve permanent responsibility of the journalist for everything he/she does in the framework of his/her professional obligations, rather than sticking to the rules which were established once and for all. The present Code shall set a high standard of ethical and professional behavior for people involved in searching, receiving, keeping, distributing and commenting on information in the mass media. The norms of the Code are not obligatory requirements and formulated as moral guidelines or standards against which media employees can compare their professional work.

The norms of the journalists Ethics Code cannot be used as the ground for holding media employees criminally, administratively, disciplinarily or otherwise responsible, except the responsibility in the framework of media self-regulation. Freedom of the press Mass media freedom is one of the major guarantees of the freedom of speech, an obligatory element for ensuring other civil rights and freedoms. The freedom of the press involves the possibility to freely discuss and criticize the activities of both the authorities and civil and private structures.Journalists contribute to the realization of the right to express unpopular opinions or agree with the point of view expressed by the majority. The journalist must defend the freedom of speech; retain independence of his/her political views and convictions. He/she must resist any efforts to distort information or introduce censorship.

Like any other citizen, the journalist has a right to political and other convictions. However, in his/her professional activity he/she should remain neutral and objective. Principles for searching and receiving informationRespecting the right of society to objective information, the journalist must convey truthful information and a whole spectrum of opinions on certain issues. The news should be based on facts and information where truthfulness can be checked. The journalist should do his/her best to obtain information from all possible sources, to make sure it is complete, truthful and unbiased. Information which may offend or humiliate a person should be checked especially carefully. Information should be obtained in legal and ethical ways.When requesting information, the journalist must introduce himself/herself, name the media outlet that he/she represents, inform the interlocutor that his/her words may be published, except in cases when the information is confidential or impossible to obtain officially.

Trust must not be abused. In case of tragedies that have caused someone shock or oppressed condition, the journalist must interview the person carefully and with patience. When gathering information, journalists may not misrepresent themselves.Journalists’ search for information by hidden means can be justified only in cases when the information in question is of major importance for society and cannot be otherwise obtained. Materials obtained by means of tapping should not be published The journalists must keep secret the sources of confidential information Principles of publication Journalists should present the facts and preserve their true meaning, demonstrate the major links and not allow distortions.

Unbiased journalism does not mean that the journalists should abstain from expressing their personal opinions.However, the reader should be able to tell the difference between the articles stating facts and materials expressing someone’s opinion or interpretation of events. However, this principle should not limit the journalist in choosing the style of writing. The journalist should not be a spokesman for an egoistic private or group interest.

He/she should contribute to mass media’s objective coverage of the pluralism of opinions. It is not allowed to hide publicly important information or distort the facts. Bias in commentary is a violation of the principles of journalistic ethics.Preparation and writing of analytical materials and commenting on certain events should be performed by journalists whose competence and experience correspond to the task in hand. People featured in the articles should be characterized by race, religion, nationality and status only in cases when it is important for the correct understanding of the material. Headlines and subhead lines of newspaper articles should correspond fully to the contents of the article, photographs and video materials should clearly illustrate the events, instead of presenting them out of context.Unconfirmed information, rumours and conjecture should be marked as such.

Symbolic illustrations (photomontage, restorations, similar motives recorded in other time periods) should be clearly recognizable or have corresponding tags. When stating facts, commenting on them or entering a discussion on a certain issue, journalists should stick to the ethics and principles of a dialogue and express respect for the discussion partner. Respecting the rights and lawful interests of third partiesThe journalist should differentiate between publicly important information and information that evokes public interest. Information on the private life of a person may be published only if the behavior of this person in the private sphere affects the public interest. In such cases it is necessary to make sure that such publication will not violate the interests of the third parties. The journalist should not photograph citizens in private environment without their consent. Photographs or pictures of people in their daily lives that could offend or humiliate them should not be published.

In covering family conflicts or cases being handled by the courts or other institutions it is recommended not to mention the names of minors. For working on the territory of hospitals or other medical establishments the journalists should get permission from the management of these establishments. It should be kept in mind that the information on bodily defects or diseases is in principle a private secret.

When publishing materials on a medical topic it is necessary to avoid anything that can cause hope of rapid recovery which is ungrounded or inappropriate to the present condition of the sick person.On the other hand, one-sided critical publications on the perspectives of curing the illnesses, on which contradictory points of views have been expressed, should not develop in sick people the feeling of uncertainty and thus undermine a possible success of therapy. The tentative results of scientific research should not be presented as final or nearly final.

The victims of violence and incidents should be treated with care. The same concerns witnesses and victims’ relatives.Special attention should be paid to selecting the photographs illustrating the details of an accident. The covering of incidents and catastrophes should not exceed the limits when respect for the sufferings of the victims and the feelings of their relatives is lost. Account should be taken of what effect a report on an incident or a crime can have on a victim or his/her close relatives. The name of a victim or a missing person should not be disclosed until his/her close relatives get to know what happened.Mass media should not stimulate unhealthy interest to the details of crimes.

It is necessary to carefully consider which of the two is the priority – interest of the society in getting the information or interests of victims or people concerned. Victims of accidents and crimes have a right to special protection of their names. Exceptions are possible when the person in question is a well-known person or the circumstances specifically relate to him/her. Mass media should avoid identifying relatives and friends of suspects or convicted people without their consent.When a crime is committed by a minor, names and photographs identifying them should not be published unless the crime in question is a grave one. The publication of names and photographs of public servants and other public people is acceptable if there is a connection between these people and the crime. It is not allowed to publish the names of victims of sexual violence or details that could result in the disclosure of their identities, unless requested by the victims themselves. It is not acceptable to identify children under 16 who are victims of or witnesses to sexual crimes.

When publishing materials on criminal subjects, witnesses or victims belonging to a religious, ethnic or other minority can be mentioned only if there are grounds to believe that this could contribute to a better understanding of the described events. This kind of information could result in bias in relation to these minorities. Investigation and trial should be covered objectively.

At all stages of an investigation and trial the journalist should seek comprehensive coverage of all points of view of all sides (in the criminal process, accordingly, the position of the prosecution and position of the efense). Information on the suspect’s family, his/her occupation, religious background, nationality, race or membership in some organizations should be published only if it is directly relevant for the case. The information that can damage the course of the trial should not be published until the verdict is pronounced and the case is closed. The journalist should not mention the names of people who committed minor crimes and were punished with light sentences. An exception to this rule is when such a crime is committed by a public person.The journalist should not mention a crime committed by a person if the person has already been punished for it.

This rule does not apply to cases of a clear criminal second offence, or the cases when the person continues the activities related to the crime committed or seek a high position in the society. Minimizing the damage Mass media should correct mistakes quickly and in completely. Corrections of significant mistakes should be published without delay in a visible place. People criticized in the mass media should have the right to immediate response.

This response should not be accompanied by editorial polemic comment, and it should have a sufficient volume, correspond to the essence of the subject matter and be acceptable in form. Journalist’s independence The journalist should behave in such a way as not to become a victim of a collision of real or hidden interests. He/she should reject privileges or presents which could influence his/her opinion or create such an impression. The journalist should not take part in activities or organizations which could limit the independence of his/her thinking and endanger his/her professional integrity.Conflicts of interests damage the prestige of mass media. The professional status of the journalist is not compatible with occupying a position in state bodies, or in the headquarters of political parties and other political organizations.

Journalists and editors should not have additional jobs or occupy elected or administrative positions, in case it compromises their moral impeccability. If work in political parties, taking part in demonstrations and solving urgent social issues results or may result in a conflict of interests, raises or may raise the question of bjectivity of mass media, it is not acceptable. Journalists should not become dependent on sources of information or someone’s interests. Mentioning cooperation with law enforcement agencies is justified only in cases when actions of journalists may defend life or health of victims or other people mentioned in the publications. The journalist should not benefit from the financial information received as part of his professional activities before its publication or before conveying it to other persons.He/she should not write on moneys that form the sphere of his/her material interests or interests of his/her relatives, without informing the editor-in-chief about it.

The journalist may not be the author of paid advertising or advertising materials. Advertising norms apply to paid publications. These publications should be presented in such a manner that the readers understand its advertising. Editorials should be clearly distinguished from advertising. In distributing consumer information it is necessary to show why certain goods are chosen.One-sided information – about one group of goods and services, about the production of one brand name, one firm, and one network of restaurants – should be avoided. The journalist should not write on behalf of some other person or sign under somebody else’s materials with his/her own name. The journalist is not allowed to offer his/her materials to other mass media without the permission of his/her managers.

If a freelance journalist offers his/her materials to several publications, he/she should inform all those publications about it. The publication of articles should not be primarily aimed at getting prizes and awards.Journalists should avoid publishing critical materials based on the facts of their personal biography, because it may produce an impression of them trying to settle accounts. Journalists’ solidarity In their daily work journalists are advised to keep a balance between fair competition and professional solidarity.

Neither individual journalists nor editorial teams should settle accounts via mass media. Such behavior damages not only their prestige, but the reputation of journalist’s profession in general, since it undermines people’s trust in the mass media.In resolving conflicts with colleagues the journalist should give priority to the jurisdiction of the journalistic association.

The journalist should defend professional dignity and prestige and express solidarity with colleagues prosecuted for their professional activities. Can journalists be free expression activists? Around the world, journalists working in countries where free expression is challenged often play the role of activist — by writing freelance pieces or op-eds, joining free expression groups, or organizing protests.With impartiality a central objective of sound journalism, can journalists involved in similar activities effectively fill both roles? Are activism and journalism compatible? Is credibility put into question by activist affiliations? Journalists can be free expression activists. Because free expression is essential for their profession.

If anywhere not available free expression or media freedom a journalist cannot play their professional role. I think every journalist should be free expression activists. The most conservative journalist should be a Free Speech advocate I have this argument with journalists all the time.I think eschewing activism in a debate on Free Speech rights of the press in order to maintain the appearance of journalistic detachment is to commit an absurdity. I think there is a place for many kinds of journalism. If you imagine a spectrum where full advocacy journalism is on one end, and traditional mainstream models are on the other end, the most traditional, most conservative forms of journalism should not go so far as to relinquish responsibility as unabashed, open defenders of their OWN Free Speech. That I think is fundamental.

Some do not agree. At the very least, the most conservative journalist (I don’t mean politically conservative, I mean conservative in the lending of support to causes and stringent in remaining independent from the issues, the level of detachment, the level to which a journalist subverts him or herself into an intelligent conduit for fair and truthful information from all perspectives) is a rights defender whenever he or she stands up for press Free Speech rights. In this way, most journalists are human rights defenders.But some do not believe in relinquishing the appearance of impartiality on this issue, and will not directly defend their own Free Speech rights. It’s not credible.

One comment on the wording of the blog entry: This issue is relevant in all countries. Free Speech battles rage all countries regularly. Casting the question as one relevant to countries where Free Speech challenges occurs suggests there are any countries where they don’t occur. I disagree.

It is a battle everywhere everyday on some level, some far more serious than others. It is a universal struggle as old as the human race.For as long as any kind of voice is quashed or marginalized anywhere, we will have these challenges. That tendency appears to be part of human nature.

Journalists can be free Journalists can be free expression activists though there are lots of odds and challenges against them. The responsibility of a committed journalist must be to voice out injustice, oppression and exploitation even in the face of life threaten consequences. He cannot disguise the truth or sit on the fence because the hallmark of good journalism is seeking the truth and presenting it objectively and factually as possible