Four Theories of the Press

1514 WordsMar 30, 20137 Pages
FOUR THEORIES OF THE PRESS ORIGINS OF THE THEORIES The “Four Theories of the Press” was by three professors, Fred S. Siebert, Theodore Peterson and Wilbur Schramm, and since 1956, has come a long way. Over time, it has established a typology in the minds of journalism educators and students. The four theories are authoritarian, libertarian, social responsibility and soviet communist (Preserve Articles, 2012). AUTHORITARIAN THEORY Authoritarian is defined as favouring or enforcing strict obedience to the authority at the expense of personal freedom. Siebert has referred to this theory as the original prototype and most extensive of all the theories. He had meant that this theory remains to influence press practices even when a government…show more content…
Many new ideas were grafted on through the years to early press libertarianism such as the general acceptance of a kind of obligation to keep the public abreast of governmental activities (Preserve Articles, 2012). Early libertarians rebelled against the authoritarian theory by arguing that there media operations should not be restricted by laws. They defended that individuals would “naturally” follow their conscience in seeking the truth, engaging in public debate and creating a better life for themselves and others if they could be freed from arbitrary limits on communication imposed by the State. They explained that a more natural way of structuring a society could be achieved with the power of unregulated public debate and discussion (, 2010). SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY THEORY Social responsibility means an ethical or theory that an entity, be it an organisation or an individual, has an obligation to act to benefit the society at large. This model is based on an idea of the media having a moral obligation to the society to provide suitable information for the public to make informed decisions (Ostini & Fung, 2002). The social responsibility theory is said to be rooted from the libertarian theory where it was a product of mid-twentieth century America. But it is different in a way that it emphasizes more on the press’s responsibility to the society than on the press’s freedom. In theory, social
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