May 21, 2009

LIBERTARIAN V SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY


TASK

• COMPARE AND CONTRAST BETWEEN THE LIBERTARIAN THEORY AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY THEORY (SRT).
• CITE PRACTICAL EXAMPLE TO GHANA

INTRODUCTION
The media as we know now have transformed radically since its inception as far back the 15th century when the German printer Johannes Gutenberg(1398-1464) invented the process of movable type, which allows molds of alphabet characters to be rearranged to form any message one desired.Sreberny-Mahammadi states that in those days “writing was closely associated with power”, thus the bourgeoisie's, (elite, clergy and Nobel).The spread of information through newspaper escalated during the 17 century. Due to advancement in technology radio (1920’s), television (after World War II), erupted to make up the revolution.Ghana experienced these mediums recently- radio (July, 1935) and TV (July, 1965)The media is endowed with broadly 3 functions:

1) To educate
2) To inform
3) To entertain.


libertarian v Social Responsibility theory (SRT)
Some of the theories includes authoritarian, libertarian, social responsibility, soviet communist and development theory.Limiting myself to libertarian and Social Responsibility theory (SRT) which are similar but are partly different in some way.At this instance, one may ask, what are libertarian and SRT?“Libertarian theory is a political philosophy that advocates free will, individual rights, and voluntary cooperation” http://legal.dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/libertarian.theory), while “The social responsibility theory is an outgrowth of the libertarian theory. However, social responsibility goes beyond "objective" reporting to "interpretive" reporting.” (http://www.allfreeessays.com/essays/Social-Responsibility-Theory/16000.html)
Before that, Le Roy Wilson makes a very good statement. He said that “the media should serve the people rather than the government…” that is to say that, the media in both theories have a common characteristic in a situation that the are both runned by private individuals and should serve the publics and not to consider the government or people in power.Starting with libertarian theory, Wilbur Schramm once said that the libertarian movement was “foreshadowed in the 16th century, envisioned in the 17th century, fought for in the 18th century and finally brought into widespread used in the 19th century.”John Milton (1608-1674), John Locke (1632-1704), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), and James Madison (1751-1836) among others were the philosophers and writers who championed the libertarian theory.
The theory seeks to prove that the media should have absolute freedom and that the media should be free to distinguish between truth and falsehood; good and evil.The 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana even states Art162 (1) “freedom and independence of the media are hereby guaranteed.” In an observation made by A.J. Liebling (Herbert J.Gans-Democracy and the news: p (22), “freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”
The theory also strikes that the press should serve as a “watchdog” on the government thereby serving as the fourth branch/fourth estate of the governmental structure. In doing this, the media in this concept (libertarian), tries to expose the wrongs of the government, murder, rape, Robbery, theft, Embezzlement, Fraud and sensationalizing it to get more people to patronize their products.
The observation by Liebling explains that, the media in the libertarian theory is accountable to the owner. What goes to the public is determined by the owners. Art 162 (3) of the constitution establishes the fact that “there should be no impediments to the establishment of private press of media…”Discerning on the Social Responsibility Theory (SRT) which emanated as critics begun to identify flaws in the libertarian theory.In 1947, Robert Maynard Hutchins chaired the commission on freedom of the press and made it clear that “freedom and responsibility go hand in hand and that the press should be periodically reminded of its responsibility”, thus, freedom and responsibility are different sides of the same coin.
The SRT have most if not all of the characteristics of the libertarian theory. In both Theories the media is free from any governmental interruption. Freedom of expression and publishing is rest assured.What makes the SRT theory distinct from the libertarian theory is that, SRT seeks to create a platform to make the media report the truth accurately and objectively at all time. Truth is always the ultimate goal.
There is always no room for inaccuracy.Credibility is another point that makes SRT distinct from libertarian theory. To be credible, the media in this theory (SRT) tries as much as possible to be socially responsible, “this includes adherence to strict ethical standards and dedication to disclosing the truth about all institutions, including ones own.”In being transparent, the SRT sticks to informing the audience, with fair and balanced information and not the other way round. It respects the dignity, privacy, rights and well being of publics encountered when gathering and disseminating information.


NAME : ALLOTEY GODWIN AKWEITEH
INDEX NO : DCSM 2010010
LECTURER : MR. KODWO BOATENG
SUBJECT : MASS COMMUNICATION
DATE : MAY 17, 2009

BOOKS USED
1. LE ROY WILSON (MASS MEDIA/ MASS CULTURE)2ND EDITION
2(http://legal.dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/libertarian.theory)
3. (http://www.allfreeessays.com/essays/Social-Responsibility-Theory/16000.html)4. Herbert J.Gans- (Democracy and the news)