Diversity around a democratic core: The universal and the particular in journalism

Cherian GEORGE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Journalism around the world is being shaped by both convergent and divergent forces. The resulting landscape, comprising a patchwork of journalistic traditions that are both similar and different, leaves scholars torn between a universalist impulse that risks imposing eurocentric benchmarks outside of their proper context, and a moral relativism that is unable to make any value judgments. When studying the relationship between journalism and democracy across the world, the challenge is to find common ground that is broad enough to include a diversity of norms and practices, but not to the extent of excusing those that perpetuate the domination of power over truth. This article suggests that the right balance can be struck with an open mind that is sensitive to differences of context, of media functions and of democratic priorities. However, in trying to globalize journalism studies, it would be a mistake to assume that official doctrines and ideologies are authentic representations of a society's culture and values. Scholars need to recognize journalists' attempts to hold on to the democratic values at the heart of the profession's dominant paradigm, especially in societies where those values are under assault and not part of the officially sanctioned discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-503
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Comparative research
  • democracy
  • journalism education
  • press systems
  • professional norms


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