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How far is freedom of speech exercised as a media right in the modern world? How does this influence the ‘power’ of journalism?

The following is the introduction to my AQA Extended Project Qualification on journalism. Hopefully it’s good enough for an A* (though, I somewhat doubt it)  I was lucky enough to receive full marks/A* for this report, so hey, it’s worth something.
The full report will be available for download soon.

– D.

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Along with the advent of the Internet, journalism has evolved not only as a profession but as a tool used to enforce and enhance modern democracy.  It has branched out into a broad spectrum extremely quickly, which has resulted in the well-known and highly influential mass media culture that we recognise today.

However, the key to the success of the media as a whole is mainly because of the almost-universally acknowledged rule of guaranteed freedom of speech in the press. Besides such legal definitions, other non-governmental organizations such as Reporters Without Borders1, The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)2, ARTICLE 193 and Freedom House4 have sought to protect and defend freedom of expression, and judges how much press freedom is truly enforced in countries around the world.

In relation to this fact, the speed at which the media has developed consequently raises a few questions.
For example, is the power of journalism really as substantial or even justifiable as it sometimes appears to be to the public? And what are the real factors which affect the limit of influence and accountability of what the press are allowed to report?

This report will attempt to recognise and examine how the right to freedom of speech in the press is being used as both a bastion to defend and promote honest journalism, and misused as proprietor to justify false, biased or even sensationalist reporting in mass media.
Factors such as the slow erosion of the right of freedom of the press as well as the imposition of libel laws in the UK and the debate over the inconsistent neutrality of some media organisations, are two causes which seem to dominate the case to explain why the power of journalism is slowly declining in its principle to seek truths and share them in balanced formats of pure information.

In reality, there will always be fundamental issues that affect the standing of every news organisation and mainstream media outlet in the world; but, ultimately, it seems the reputation of the media, and journalists alike, needs to be scrutinised in order to determine why so much of society is beginning to
re-evaluate the very function and purpose of mass media in the modern world.

“Every news organization has only its credibility and reputation to rely on.”

Tony Burman, ex-editor-in-chief of CBC News



One thought on “How far is freedom of speech exercised as a media right in the modern world? How does this influence the ‘power’ of journalism?

  1. this looks v.interesting. please post your whole report, definitely would like to read it 🙂

    Posted by TOMAS | March 10, 2011, 2:45 PM

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