Political Economy of Journalism

November 29, 2016 in uncategorised

Political economy in the UK media basically means to keep the public informed on all platforms, whether that means in politics or for freedom of speech. It also relates back to holding power to account as often as possible, and to keep a ‘marketplace of ideas’ open where possible.

Within different countries there is different media and different use of political economy. ‘It reflects the system of social control whereby the relations of individuals and institutions are adjusted.’ (Fred S. Siebert, Theodore Peterson & Wilbur Schramm The Four Theories of the Press 1956:1-2).

Siebert and Peterson went on to introduce four normative theories that demonstrated the states and media’s relationship that fit into an ideal world rather than the ‘real world’:

Authoritarian – used mainly in countries with dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia. The press is independent but produces propaganda for the government; all information given is censored by the government for what they want the public to know. There is no information in the media economy.

Libertarian- used usually in any country/state with a democracy e.g. the UK. The media in these areas gives the public information and allows them to do what they want with it, often it helps form democratic decisions. The press holds power to account as there is (usually) no censorship from the government and there is lots information on the political economy.

Social responsibility – used in emerging democracies such as Thailand and Vietnam. The citizens are informed but the information given is used to create support for the state, this is also down to the fact that there is some given censorship from the state/government. Independent press acts as a public service and the media economy is based on objective facts.

Soviet/communist – used in places such as Russia. There is state censorship and control of the press. Very similar to authoritarian however it is a two-way form of communication rather than one way like it is within dictatorships. The state owns the press completely and the media economy is based on state propaganda.

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