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Normative Theories of Mass Communication

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1 Normative Theories of Mass Communication

2 Normative theories were first proposed by Fred Siebert, Theodore Peterson and Wilbur Schramm in their book called “Four Theories of the Press”. At first the word “Normative Theory” was pronounced in USA during the height of ‘cold war’ with communism and soviet. Often it is called as western theories of mass media.

3 Normative Theory It is a type of theory that describes an ideal way that how media should be structured and operated within the society or how journalism/ media ought to, or are expected to, operate – what is desirable in relation to both structure and performance. It shows how the press operated under the various political environments.

4 This theory explains how ideal media ought to operate with specific system of social values. Theories of the press and its role in a society would fit in this category. It is a synthesis of ideas developed over the past four centuries. These theories were based on observations and not from hypotheses testing.

5 These theories are basically different from other communication theories because normative theories of press are not providing any scientific explanations or prediction.  At the same these “four theories of the press” were came from many sources rather than a single source.  A Normative theory describes an ideal way for a media system to be controlled and operated by the government, authority, leader and public.

6 Four Theories of the Press
Siebert, Peterson & Schramn (1956) proposed that the press system is divided into four categories: 1. Authoritarian Theory 2. Libertarian Theory 3. Social Responsibility Theory 4. Soviet-Totalitarian Theory Additions (Denis McQuail. Mass Communication Theory: An Introduction) in 1980 Development Democratic-participant

7 1. Authoritarian Theory 16th & 17th century England. Widely adopted and still in practice in many places. B. PHILOSOPHY: Philosophy of absolute monarch/ruler, his government or both.

8 Ideas: Authoritarian theory holds that journalism should always be subordinate to the interests of the state in maintaining social order or achieving political goals (Siebert, Peterson, & Schramm 1956). At a minimum, the press is expected to avoid any criticisms of government officials and to do nothing to challenge the established order. Authoritarian concept: advocating the complete domination of media by a government for the purpose of forcing those media to serve government

9 1. Authoritarian Theory Responsibility of the media was To support and advance the policies of the government in power and to serve the state. The media in an authoritarian system are not allowed to print or broadcast anything which could undermine the established authority, and any offense to the existing political values is avoided. The authoritarian government may go to the step of punishing anyone who questions the state's ideology  The fundamental assumption of the authoritarian system is that the government is infallible. Media professionals are therefore not allowed to have any independence within the media organization.

10 Authoritarian Theory In the authoritarian theory system, the relationship between the state and the media in an authoritarian system is vertical, in that, the information is from the top (government) to down (media).

11 2. Libertarian Theory DEVELOPMENT:
Adopted by England after 1688 and in the U.S. Influential elsewhere. PHILOSOPHY: Writing of Milton, Loke, Mill and general philosophy or rationalism and natural rights.

12 2. Libertarian Theory In his book, Siebert goes on to explain the libertarian theory, which is also called the free press theory. In contrast to the authoritarian theory, the libertarian view rests on the idea that the individual should be free to publish whatever he or she likes. In the libertarian system, attacks on the government's policies are fully accepted and even encouraged. Moreover, there should be no restrictions on import or export of media messages across the national frontiers.

13 Early libertarians argued
that there should be no laws governing media operations. Free press means that all forms of media must be totally unregulated. If individuals could be freed from arbitrary limits on communication imposed by church and state, they would “naturally” follow the dictates of their conscience, seek truth, engage in public debate, and ultimately create a better life for themselves and others.

14 Libertarian theory Best known embodiment of the ideal is the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which specifies that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” This formulation expresses the ideal only in negative terms, as a freedom from state intervention. It asserted that all individuals have natural rights no government, community, or group can unduly infringe upon or take away. The ability to exercise dissent, to band together with others to resist laws that people find to be wrong, to print or broadcast ideas, opinions and beliefs- all of these rights are proclaimed as central to democratic self government.

15 Supporters of this theory believed strongly in the power of unrestricted public debate and discussion to create more natural way of structuring society. In AEROPAGETICA, a powerful libertarian published in 1644 by John Milton asserted that: “In a fair debate good and truthful arguments will always win out over lies and deceit. If this is true it followed , then a new and better social order could be forged using public debate.” This idea came to be referred to as MILTON’S SELF-RIGHTING PRINCIPLE, and is still cited by contemporary media professionals.

16 These libertarian ideals are also seen as the heart of the United States long-term experiment with democratic self-government. The American Revolution against Britain was legitimized by libertarian ideals. Patrick Henry’s famous comment “Give me liberty or Give me Death.”

17 2. Libertarian Theory HOW ARE THE MEDIA CONTROLLED?
By ‘self right process of truth’ in ‘free market place of ideas’ and by courts. WHAT IS PROHBITED? Defamation, obscenity, indecency, wartime sedition

18 2. Libertarian Theory OWNERSHIP: Chiefly private
ESSENTIAL DIFERENCE FROM OTHERS: Instrument for checking on government and meeting other needs of society

19 Self righting’s by Milton
In (1644) John Milton asserted that in a fair debate good and truthful arguments will always win over lies and deceit. Thus, it followed that a new and better social order could be forged. This became known as the “self-righting principle”. Market place of ideas The notion that all ideas should be put before the public, and the public will choose the best from that market place.

20 Strength & Weakness of Libertarianism
Value media freedom. Values individuals. Preclude (prevent from happening) government control of media

21 Strength & Weakness of Libertarianism
It is overly optimistic about media willingness to meet responsibilities. It is overly optimistic about individuals’ ethics and rationality. Ignores the need for reasonable control of media. Ignores the dilemmas posed by conflicting freedoms (e.g free press vs personal privacy)

22 Social Responsible theory
Unfortunately, most early libertarians had a unrealistic view of how long it would take to find the “truth” and establish an ideal social order. In the 18th century it became clear that “truth” couldn’t be quickly or easily established, some libertarians became discouraged. They drifted between libertarian and authoritarian views. Whenever new media technologies are invented, it is necessary to decide how they should be regulated. The debate over communication freedom never ends, sometimes the balance shifts toward expanding freedom and other times, freedom is curtailed.

23 The question is why it is necessary to place limits on communication freedom. The common reason could be, where do the rights guaranteed to you by the constitution end and those of another begins? What happens when groups attempt to stir up hatred and resentment against racial or ethnic minorities? Should media practitioners be allowed to invade our homes, publish erroneous information about us, or deceive us with false advertising? Do media professionals have the right to produce and distribute anything that will earn profits, or should some limits be placed on them?

24 These feelings were particularly developed in the United States in the 1800s, during the penny press and yellow journalism eras. Public confidence in both business and government was shaken by recurring depressions, widespread corruption and injustice. Public respect for newspapers also receded as publishers pursued profits and created news to sell papers. Social movement sprang up to call for new laws and greater government regulation. A group who believed in direct regulation of media, most often by a government agency or commission. These include advocates of TECHNORATIC CONTROL, people like Harold Lasswell and Walter Lippmann.

25 So during the 1920s and 1930s a new normative theory of mass communication began to emerge that rejected both radical libertarian and ideas of technocratic control. As pressure for government regulation of media mounted, industry leaders responded with efforts to professionalize. Rather than cede control of media to a government agency, media managers went on record with pledges to serve public needs. Industry codes of ethics began to formalize another important conception about the role of media-that of a watchdog guarding the welfare of the public. It assumed that media should continually scan the social world and alert the public to problems. Realizing that the market had failed to fulfill the promise that press freedom would reveal the truth, The Commission on Freedom of the Press provided a model in which the media had certain obligations to society.

26 The Hutchins Commission
So Henry Luce, CEO of Time Inc., provided funding for an independent commission to make recommendations concerning the role of the press. The Hutchins Commission on Freedom of the press was established in 1942 and released a major report of its findings in 1947. The Commission members were sharply divided between those who held strongly libertarian views and those who thought some form of press regulation was necessary. Those who favored regulation were fearful that the marketplace of ideas was much too vulnerable to subversion by antidemocratic forces; most of them were impressed by the Chicago School.

27 Written by Robert Maynard Hutchins and a dozen other
preeminent intellectuals of the day, A Free and Responsible Press offers an astute, literate, and impassioned indictment of the nation's mass media. The 133-page report contends that the press is free for the purpose of serving democracy; a press that shirks its democratic duties will lose its freedom. The report calls on the press to improve itself in the name of morality, democracy, and self-preservation.

28 Chicago School Chicago School envisioned modern cities as “Great Communities” comprising hundreds of small social groups- everything from neighborhood social organizations to citywide associations. For these Great Communities to develop, all the constituent groups had to work together and contribute. These were referred to as pluralistic groups in recognition of their cultural and racial diversity. The Chicago School Opposed marketplace of ideas notions and argued that unregulated mass media inevitably served the interests and tastes of large or socially dominant groups. Small, weak, pluralistic groups would be either neglected or degraded.

29 This perspective also held that ruthless elites could use media as a means of gaining personal political power. These demagogues could manipulate media to transmit propaganda to fuel hatred and fear among a majority unite them against minorities, e.g. as Hitler used the media to arouse hatred against the Jews. Although majority of the Hutchins commission members had some sympathy for Chicago School ideas, they opposed any direct form of press regulation.

30 Social responsibility defined (by McQuail)
1. Media should accept and fulfill certain obligations to society. 2. These obligations are mainly to be met by setting high or professional standards of informativeness, truth, accuracy, objectivity and balance. 3. In accepting and applying these obligations, media should be self-regulating within the framework of law and established institutions. 4. The media should avoid whatever might lead to crime, violence or civil disorder or give offense to minority groups.

31 5. The media as a whole should be pluralist and reflect the diversity of their society, giving access to various points of view and to rights of reply. 6. Society and the public have a right to expect high standards of performance, and intervention can be justified to secure the public good. 7. Journalists and media professionals should be accountable to society as well as to employers and the market

32 Strength & Weakness of the Social Responsibility
Values media responsibility Value audience responsibility Limit media intrusion in media operation Allows reasonable government control of media Values diversity and pluralism Aids the ‘powerless’ Appeals to the best instincts of media practitioners and audience

33 Strength & Weakness of the Social Responsibility
WEAKNESSES It is overly optimistic about media willingness to meet responsibility. It is overly optimistic about individual responsibility. Underestimate the power of profit motivation & competition. Legitimizes status quo

34 4. Soviet Communism/Totalitarian Theory
Apparent from its name, the Soviet theory is closely tied to a specific ideology; the communist. Siebert traces the roots of this theory back to the 1917 Russian Revolution based on the postulates of Marx and Engels. The media organizations in this system were not intended to be privately owned and were to serve the interests of the working class. The mass media in the Soviet model are expected to be self-regulatory with regard to the content of their messages.

35 4. Soviet Totalitarian Theory
C. MAIN PURPOSE: To continue to the success and continuance of the Soviet Socialist System especially that led to the dictatorship of the party. D. WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO USE THE MEDIA: Loyal and orthodox party members

36 4. Soviet Totalitarian Theory
E. HOW ARE THE MEDIA CONTROLLED? Surveillance and economic or political action of government F. WHAT IS PROHBITED? Criticism of the party objectives as distinguish from tactics

37 4. Soviet Totalitarian Theory
G. OWNERSHIP: Public H. ESSENTIAL DIFERENCE FROM OTHERS: State owned and closely controlled media existing solely as arms of eh state.

38 5. Democratic–Participant Media Theory
Democratic-participant theory was proposed in recognition of new media developments and of increasing criticism of the dominance of the main mass media by private or public monopolies. From the 1960’s onwards call could be heard for alternative, grass-roots media, expressing the needs of citizens. The theory supports the right to relevant local information, the right to answer back and the right to use the new means of communication for interaction and social action in small-scale settings of community, interest groups or subculture.

39 This theory challenged the necessity for and desirability of
uniform, centralized, high-cost, commercialized, professionalized or state-controlled media. In their place should be encouraged multiple, small-scale, local, non-institutional, committed media which link senders to receivers and also favor horizontal patterns of interaction.

40 5. Democratic–Participant Media Theory
B. PHILOSOPHY: It reflects public “reaction against the commercialisation and monopolisation of privately owned media and against the centralism and bureaucratisation of public broadcasting institutions

41 6. Development Media Theory
This theory seeks to explain the normative behavior of the press in countries that are conventionally classified together as “developing countries” or “third world countries”. It, too, is not easy to locate in any particular institution or country, because it encompasses a great variety of fluctuating economic and political conditions

42 Development media theory was intended to recognize the fact that societies undergoing a transition from underdevelopment and colonialism to independence and better material conditions often lack the infrastructure, the money, the traditions, the professional skills and even the audiences needed to sustain

43 6. Development Media Theory
Major Tenets: Media must accept and carry out positive development tasks in line with nationally established policy. Freedom of the media should be open to economic priorities and development needs of the society. Media should give priority in their content to the national culture and language(s). Media should assist the Government in any development project.

44 Thank You

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