Defending Whose Democracy? Media Freedom and Media Power

Fenton, Natalie. 2014. Defending Whose Democracy? Media Freedom and Media Power. Nordicom Review, 35, pp. 31-43. ISSN 2001-5119 [Article]


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Abstract or Description

Rarely has the relationship between media and democracy been so centre-stage. Whether regarding regulatory reform brought about by phone hacking in the UK, concentration of media ownership in Italy, Hungary, Australia to mention but a few; or in relation to social media and the internet as a supposed means to increased access to information and citizen production and circulation of non-mainstream content leading to greater so called media freedom. The debate on whether or not and in what form the media are related to the nature and practice of democracy is raging; and rightly so.
Yet too often this debate, usually cast in populist terms, belies complexity. We are frequently told that one leads to the other. In one formulation, ‘free’ media are seen as a pre-requisite for democracy to flourish. Here we see an ill used interpretation of the concept of ‘freedom of the press’ used to defy explanation and justify most anything ‒ who can be against freedom, particularly press freedom when the press have such a crucial relationship with a healthy democracy? Such a knee-jerk response is frequently no more than a cheap disguise for the promotion of free-market capitalism which is then seen as a direct path to enhanced democratisation on the gravy train of commercial media.
Alternatively, it is proposed that ‘freedom’, as a free floating concept more generally

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre


9 September 2014Published Online

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Date Deposited:

18 Dec 2015 09:10

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 18:19


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