December 17, 2015

MEDIA COMMENT: When the media engages in self-censorship

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:03 pm by yisraelmedad

Media Comment: When the media engages in self-censorship
There lurks, even in the media, the “watchdog of democracy,” factors that will prevent a story from appearing or will provide it a special spin.
Balancing journalism’s twin goals of telling the public what it wants to know and what it needs to know is not only an ethical matter for journalists but a very real concern for the media consumers.

There is, though, another issue: when the media selects, under pressure or out of free choice, not to tell its reading and listening public what it should know. We have pointed out many times in our columns that the most powerful media influence lies in what is not revealed to its consumers.

Any university journalism course will teach that there are two forms of media censorship in the media: censorship and self-censorship. As one online article explains: “Censorship occurs when a state, political, religious or private party prohibits information from reaching citizens. Self-censorship occurs when journalists themselves prevent the publication of information… because they are fearful of what could happen if they publish certain information – they are fearful of injury to themselves or their families, fearful of a lawsuit or other economic consequence.”

A case could be that the newspaper’s owner is being investigated by authorities for corruption and bribery.

Another is that a major advertiser is suspected of corrupt employment practices or, worse, polluting a major water source.


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