Free press is vital in democracy
It is generally believed that free press is an essential to foster democratic norms and values. It plays a vital role in raising awareness among people. But is it alwys right? Shouldn't we curb their rights to a larger extent?
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
No free press means no democratic society.
The argument (I hesitate to use the plural because there is only one, if we do not count the poster's deviation into a fairly banal and simplistic explanation of communism and capitalism) presented opposite does not appear to support circumscribing the freedom of the press; it is merely lamenting the idea that truly 'free press' is a near impossibility. Does it necessarily follow that any degree of press freedom, no matter how great, is worthless because of inevitable bias?
Looking at the national daily papers of today we can see a fairly broad political spectrum represented and this offsets bias by allowing readers to choose a paper which espouses similar values to their own.
The powerful control which authoritarian regimes assume, to the detriment of the lives of their citizens, by limiting press freedom has any number of precedents including both latter and, to a somewhat lesser extent, modern-day Russia, Nazi Germany, Franco's Spain etc. Even today the lack of press freedom in Italy, where the prime minister, Berlusconi, wields huge media control is troubling in terms of suppression of information and manipulation of a populace.
By manipulating the information your citizens have access to, other, more severe forms of control can be fostered. While a free press can prevent many of these problems, a restricted one cannot.
Democracies in Pakistan have failed repetitively precisely because there was NO free press. Only a media group that kicked the losers of elections when they were down,
So , is Fox-news NOT manipulating information to advocate (widely thought-of-as-undeserved) support for the republican party?
Alternatively Is Saturday night live not fostering blatant & shameless support for liberals(and twisting information to make republicans look like donkeys, why are republicans usually the proverbial butt of all their jokes? you might argue about that, giving as an example: one skit on Obama's fawning media fan base; but even there they attacked/mocked/ridiculed the 'media' not Obama), granted it's a comedy show and comedic exaggerations are not to be taken seriously, but (the) fact is, (that) they are and CNN by promoting/airing/running 'S.N.L', Tina fey's show and The daily show; helps media-generated public bias towards liberals.
So, The large news media base, powered/funded/run by liberals promoting liberals in America and Obama singling/blotting FOX NEWS(the 'only' news media network/channel for pro-republican propaganda/bias) out (by not giving them an interview) is not an example of government controlled, leadership biased media??
Of course it is
"Does it necessarily follow that any degree of press freedom, no matter how great, is worthless because of inevitable bias?"
Yes, because the very concept of a 'free unbiased' press is a lie and those who sell it are conscious hypocrites.
It's like saying "Sir, I cannot tell a lie"
I was not 'defining' communism and capitalism, but making a stark contrast of how media-control/bias differs in the two systems of government, in practice(in keeping with the motion) A definition of the two terms would be something else entirely.
It is very possible to have free press under dictatorship, Former president/authoritarian/dictator/general Pervez Musharraf did wonders for 'free press/media' in his term/time-in-office, lauding the spawn of a multitude of private T.V channels; all opposing him and his regime(funnily & ironically).
Point being, a free press does not equate naturally to democracy and it is not 'vital' to a democracy either, continuing the Pakistani case in point, above: Government owned P.T.V(and later its scions S.T.N and N.T.M) was the only T.V channel being run during both democratically elected reigns of P.P.P's Benazir Bhutto and P.M.L-N's Nawaz Sharif.
Value freedom can never be achieved-Max Weber
The press however free, will never be liberated/emancipated from bias. That bias can come from financiers/sponsors who hold stakes/stock in news media organisations, or from journalists with political leanings, or from the oppostion party or the ruling political party.
Perfect information is an undeliverable ideal, and limited information is summarised/summarized, read skewed to one point of view, after being cut and pasted into small segments/factions in the news.
In a communist world,the government controls every thing.
In a capitalist word, money/the-bourgeoisie/corporate-giants do.
A free press gives the illusion of 'power to the people'[[John Lennon song inspired by an interview with Tariq Ali (first Non-white/not-British president of the Oxford union)]], not the actual thing.
It is clear from the American system of the press, and indeed from the British print media that a liberal system of press management can lead to unprecedented bias. Examples of this are everywhere, from FOX news in America, to the meetings between Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch being a pivotal point in the 1997 general election. It is because of this that a 'liberal' free system is far from perfect. The liberal press model rose out of the need for revenue when the print press was in its beginnings, ensuring necessary funds were raised in order to have freedom from the government, yet now the newspapers are owned by cooperation that themselves have a political agenda, thus loosening the very concept of fourth estate that the liberal press theory was trying to create.
Under social responsibility models, which includes instances such as the BBC attempt to ensure that a wide spread of information is presented in order to inform the viewer as to a wider background on her issues at hand. Of course, then there is the issue that they themselves have close links to the government as well.
Perhaps the most democratic way of getting news is through the internet, where forums such as this one allow for newsworthy topics to be discussed and debated, and, whilst everyone has there own opinion, at least through debate and discussion a semblance of 'perfect information' can be achieved.
'Perfect' information could mean anything. It depends very much on what you believe the press is there to do. Zalenger believed that the press was there to perform a 'burglar alarm model' alerting the public as to when the government stepped out of line, whereas others see the press as a having a deliberative democratic value, designed to encourage discussion. either way, without the underlying notion that the press is indeed 'free' then it cannot fully achieve any of the goals it was set up to create.
What do you think?