Monday, 16 January 2012

Normative Theory- Press Theory

Normative Theory  
This theory explain the expected  operation of media under the prevailing set of political and economical circumstances.
There are six normative theories . In !950 Siebert et al mentioned four theories, two more were added by Mc Quail in !980.


According to Authoritrian Theory, Press is subordinated to the state power.  It acts  according  the interest of ruling class or the e state power or by an established authority. The press do their bidding.
It also give justification for the censorship and control and punishment for any  kind of deviation from set of rules and guidelines.  Such censorship is more rigidly enforced in times of war and during internal and external emergencies.
Eg in case of Srilanka 4th Eelam war, and in 1975 Indira Gandhi government imposed censorship of press in The Emergency. It was removed at the end of the Emergency rule.
Both  dictatorial and democratic regimes resot to such authoritarian control of the media.
Also some documentaries and movies baned  by Indian Govt.
Eg. Dam999 movie baned in Tamilnadu , In 2002, the film War and Peace, depicting scenes of nuclear testing and the September 11, 2001 attacks, created by Anand Patwardhan,  In 1999 Maharashtra government banned the Marathi play 'Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy" or 'I am Nathuram Godse Speaking"

Key points
This theory works bases on quality of information and culture available the public.
Adequate support for the democratic and political system
Respect for individual and general humanrights.
Avoiding harm and offence to society and individuals.

The new "freedom index" from press watchdog Reporters Without Borders slams the usual dictatorships, but also warns that economic growth in emerging powers does not always lead to more liberty.As expected, the pressure group's annual league table of media freedom condemns authoritarian regimes -- such as Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan -- that employ the most brutal methods to silence the free press.

But it also warns that the impressive economic progress made in recent years by major powers such as China, India and Russia has not been matched by any greater openness to criticism on the part of their governments.And it hits out at several European Union countries, former leaders in freedom of expression, who are quick to criticise others but who now find themselves slipping in the rankings as authorities chip away at media rights.

Reporters with Borders (RSF) praises Brazil for making progress in changing its laws to better guarantee free expression -- moving it up 12 places to the 58th best place to be a journalist -- but hits out at India, Russia and China."These four countries now shoulder the responsibilities of the emerging powers and must fulfil their obligations as regards fundamental rights," the group's secretary general, Jean-Frangois Julliard, said in a statement.
"More than ever before, we see that economic development, institutional reform and respect for fundamental rights do not necessarily go hand in hand."
China was criticised for censoring and jailing dissidents, writers and bloggers, and drops to 171st place out of 178 countries surveyed. 

RSF praised the Nobel committee for giving its 2010 Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, "symbol of the pressure for free speech building up in China, which censorship for the time being is still managing to contain."  

France and Italy, at 44th and 49th, were hit for prying into "journalists' sources, the continuing concentration of media ownership and contempt and impatience  
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi owns the country's big private broadcaster and several publications, and has been accused of putting political pressure on state and independent media.  

In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy is accused of ordering secret police to hunt out the source of leaks to the press about a high-profile fraud probe, and his wealthy friends in industry own much of the daily press.  

"It is disturbing to see several European Union member countries continuing to fall in the index," Julliard said.  

"If it does not pull itself together, the European Union risks losing its position as world leader in respect for human rights... How could it be convincing when it asks authoritarian regimes to make improvements?"  

Nevertheless, the top six countries in joint first place in the world for press freedom are still in northern Europe, and three of them in the European Union: Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.  

"These six countries set an example in the way they respect journalists and news media and protect them from judicial abuse," RSF said.  

RSF compiles its annual table by scoring each country in the light of 43 criteria measuring violence and persecution against journalists, censorship and self-censorship and the financial and legal independence of media.

2.Free Press Theory
The fundamental right of an individual freedom of expression  or libertarianism make a base of this theory. It also called liberation theory. This theory recommend that any individual is free to punish whatever he likes, can held opinions fully to express them, to assemble and organize with other.
This theory basis is go back to 17 th century. The epic poet John Milton and John Stuart Mill are the apologists of this theory.  It is contrast with authoritarian theory.
It is the only fully respected theory of the press has been the free press theory.
According to this theory  a free press is seen  essential to a free society and dignity of  the individual. Freedom of the press was closely linked with the idea of  freedom of the individual and with liberal and utilitarian political philosophy.
This theory protects media  owners rather  than  the rights of editors and journalists, or of the public. The theory offers in sum is power without social responsibility

Free Press Theory


  1. Values media freedom
  2. Is consistent with U.S media traditions
  3. Values individuals
  4. prevents government control of media


  1. It overly optimistic about media’s willingness to meet responsibilities
  2. It is overly optimistic about  individuals ethcs and rationality
  3. Ignore dilemmas posed by conflicting freedoms for example free press versus personal privacy

3.Social Responsibility Theory
This theory has been derived from Hutchins Report in 1947.
According to  this theory it the press has work  as the information sound and normal needs of the society. The theory  based on the assumption  that media sense the essential function of society in truth, accuracy, objectivity,and balance.
The commission found that the free market approach to press freedom had not yet met the informational and social need of the society and possibilities for reform. It had increased the power of  a single class.  Especially in relation to violence, pornography and civil unrest.
The theory view that the press had certain obligation to society and ownership is a public trust. The media ownership as a form of public trust rather than as as unlimited private franchise.
It served as an  influential example to other countries.

The finding of the  report contributed to subsequent theorizing and practice of accountability.
A responsible press should provide a full, truthful, comprehensive and intelligent account  of the days’ events in a context which giving them meaning.
It should serve as a forum for the exchange  of comment and criticism
The press should give a representative picture of constituent groups in society. The media have obligations to society; The media should follow agreed codes of ethics and professional conduct.
It involved a view of media ownership as a form of public trust or stewardship.
Social responsibility should be reached by self-control, not government intervention. This theory  holds that the government must not merely allow freedom, it must actively promote it. The government should act to protect the freedom of its citizens. . The public interest was a greater value than unregulated freedom of expression. Under some circumstances government may need to intervene to safeguard the public interest.
Advantage of this theory


It advocate media freedom
Plurality of Ownership
Diversity of information
Support for maintaining public order and security of the state
Quality of cultural provision
Meeting international obligations
Appeal to the best instincts of media people and audience
It is consistent with U.S legal tradition

Respecting the rights of individuals
Overly optimistic about media and individual  willingness  to meet responsibility
Underestimates power of profit, motivation and competition

Soviet Media Theory/ Communist media Theory

 It is derived from Lenin’s application of Marx and Engels. According to this theory media are the mental production of ideology.
Through the communist party media  projected the interest of working class rather than elite people.
As per this theory media is a tool to socialize the people such that educate, inform, motivate, and mobilize the citizens
The public will encouraged to provide feedback.
Censorship and restrictions on the media are legitimate for the media.
Media are accountable to the state.


Post a Comment