Panel I: The Future of the Political Economy of Press Freedom

9 Comm. L. & Pol’y 97 (2014)

Posted: 25 Aug 2017

See all articles by Robert Picard

Robert Picard

University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Thomas Streeter

Western University; University of Vermont

Morgan Weiland

Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society; Stanford University - Department of Communication

Date Written: January 16, 2014

Abstract

Freedom of expression and press freedom are influenced by economic and power arrangements in society and the information age is not altering that fundamental principle. The social, economic, and technical changes underlying information society are altering some existing structural arrangements and are redistributing power, but they are not eliminating systemic organization and control. These changes are affecting freedoms in different parts of communication processes and systems, making necessary new understanding and approaches to promoting and ensuring freedom.

The organization of media and communication systems and markets, their relations with the state and elites, the presence of dominant content producers and providers, the choices of content provided, the consumers to whom content is directed, and how it is delivered are all being affected by the fundamental changes in society. These are increasingly shifting the mechanism of control and influence over media from public to private spheres, reducing the ability of the public to influence it through democratically determined policy, and making public oversight of media and communication systems and operations more difficult.

Media systems and their content and the degree of freedom of expression and freedom of the press are reflections of dominant cultural elements in society. The concepts, as well as the language of freedom of expression and press freedom, emerged in response to historical structural arrangements dominated by the state and became a fundamental component of the democratic revolutions. They were primarily designed to provide protection against state impediments to citizens’ expression, to permit challenges to state authority, and to break state-sanctioned monopolies on distribution of information. As time passed, the mass media model of communication in Western nations emerged partly because of those freedoms and because of the technological changes provided by the Industrial Revolution and economic changes in society created by wage earning and continual employment.

Suggested Citation

Picard, Robert and Streeter, Thomas and Weiland, Morgan, Panel I: The Future of the Political Economy of Press Freedom (January 16, 2014). 9 Comm. L. & Pol’y 97 (2014), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3025700

Robert Picard (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism ( email )

13 Norham Gardens
Oxford, OX2 6PS
United Kingdom

Thomas Streeter

Western University ( email )

FIMS and Nursing Building
London, Ontario N6A5B9
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://https://streeter.fims.uwo.ca/

University of Vermont

31 So. Prospect St.
Sociology, UVM
05405, VT 05405-0158
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.uvm.edu/~tstreete

Morgan Weiland

Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society ( email )

Palo Alto, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/about/people/morgan-weiland

Stanford University - Department of Communication ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-2050
United States

HOME PAGE: http://comm.stanford.edu/doctoral-weiland/

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