Media Freedom and Accountability

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How, when, and to what extent should people be able to talk back to the media; what works, what doesn't, what's possible? This volume, sponsored by the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University and the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, examines these and other issues. With a deep concern for freedom from censorship and a strong awareness of our constitutional franchise of freedom of expression, the editors and contributors seek to define meaningful ...

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Overview

How, when, and to what extent should people be able to talk back to the media; what works, what doesn't, what's possible? This volume, sponsored by the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University and the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, examines these and other issues. With a deep concern for freedom from censorship and a strong awareness of our constitutional franchise of freedom of expression, the editors and contributors seek to define meaningful forums where citizens can air their views about media to a large enough audience to make a significant impact. The strong sense of urgency in forming these investigations results from the recognition of mass media's central and powerful role in both public and consumer life; the ability of mass media to help or harm is indisputable. The recognition of media impact by editors, broadcasting groups, corporate owners, and researchers in diverse fields, has made the public's view of the press a highly visible item on the public agenda. In spite of this, discussions of media accountability have remained conceptually muddled and formal means for public feedback have been few and feeble.

The editors of Media Freedom and Accountability present and assess several forms of media accountability that function effectively within free speech parameters. They include the marketplace model, the self-regulatory model, the voluntary model, the fiduciary model, and the litigation model. Discussions of these models include evaluations of letters-to-the-editor columns, radio talk shows, ethical codes, ombudsmen, press councils, citizens groups such as Accuracy in Media, the FCC and FTC, and the court system of redress. Lewis Lapham, editor of Harper's; Alfred Balk, former editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and now with World Press Review; and Kenneth Morgan of the British Press Council, among other contributors, offer thoughtful and informative essays that approach the subject from various pragmatic and philosophical stances. Media Freedom and Accountability is made-to-order for courses in mass media, for all media practitioners, and for all those concerned with the scope of media in the United States and with methods of public response.

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Meet the Author

EVERETTE E. DENNIS is Executive Director of the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University and Editor-in-Chief of the Gannett Center Journal.

DONALD M. GILLMOR is Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and Director, Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

THEODORE L. GLASSER is on the faculty of the Institute for Communication Research at Stanford University and Associate Director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota.

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Table of Contents

Introduction by Everette E. Dennis and Donald M. Gillmor

The Terrible Burden of Free and Accountable Media by Donald M. Gillmor

The Marketplace: A Court of First Resort by John C. Merrill

The Marketplace: A Stacked Court by A. H. Raskin

Self-Regulation: A Critical Role for Codes of Ethics by Clifford Christians

Self-Regulation: Reflections of an Insider by Richard P. Cunningham

The Voluntary Model: Living With "Public Watchdogs" by Alfred Balk

Against Accountability: First and Last Resorts by Lewis Lapham

The Fiduciary Model: Regulating Accountability by Henry Geller

The Fairness Doctrine is Bad Public Policy by John Kamp

The Legal Model: Finding the Right Mix by David A. Anderson

The Legal Model: An Editor's Comment by John R. Finnegan

A View from Abroad: The Experience of the Voluntary Press Council by Kenneth Morgan

Freedom and Accountability: A Search for Solutions by William A. Henry, III

Three Views on Accountability by Theodore L. Glasser

Bibliography

Index

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