Journalism, Censorship, and Press Freedom

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Press freedom and censorship demands new empirical as well as conceptual research that responds to the diversity of media systems that cannot be captured within binary free/unfree categories. This article surveys threats to press freedom emanating from the state, the market, and the people. Direct state censorship still exists, but most states rely increasingly on more subtle and indirect means of media control. Market forces, including media owners, are another source of restriction. The problem of self-censorship, usually operating through economic pressure, is widespread and pernicious, but inadequately theorized. Tensions between journalism and the public surface in populist opposition to the media’s attempts to defend minority rights. In such cases, the press can find itself needing to resist the very people in whose name it exercises its democratic role. These complications require journalism scholars to rethink the normative frameworks and assumptions underlying studies of press freedom. This article argues for a rightsbased approach that treats public discourse - and not media organizations or media workers - as the prime object of press freedom.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJournalism
EditorsTim P. Vos
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781501500084
ISBN (Print)9781501510380
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2018

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Communication Science
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
ISSN (Print)2199-6288
ISSN (Electronic)2199-627X

User-Defined Keywords

  • freedom of expression
  • media control
  • populism
  • self-censorship


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