Speech, Media And Ethics / Edition 2

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Speech, Media, and Ethics: The Limits of Free Expression is an interdisciplinary work that employs ethics, liberal philosophy, and legal and media studies to outline boundaries to freedom of expression and freedom of the press conducive to protecting basic human and civic rights. Moral principles are applied to analyze practical questions that deal with free expression and its limits.

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Editorial Reviews

Cohen-Almagor (communication, U. of Haifa) incorporates ethics, liberal philosophy, and legal and media studies in this examination of tolerance and the problems of maintaining a free press given the forces that threaten the institutions of contemporary society. His analysis of freedom of expression considers the right to demonstrate; the right to picket the homes of public officials; and the right to compete in elections. An examination of freedom of the press looks at objective reporting in the media; ethical boundaries of media coverage; the concept of the public's right to know and its ethical constraints; and a comparison of the work of the press councils of Great Britain, Canada, and Israel. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312236076
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 3/21/2001
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Raphael Cohen-Almagor is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication at the University of Haifa in Israel.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Geoffrey Marshall
• Introduction
Part I: Freedom of Expression
• Harm Principle, Offense Principle, and Hate Speech
• The Right to Demonstrate v. the Right to Privacy: Picketing Private Homes of Public Officials
• The Right to Participate in Elections: Judicial and Practical Considerations
Part II: Media Ethics, Freedom and Responsibilities
• Objective Reporting in the Media: Phantom Rather than Pancea
• Ethical Boundaries of Media Coverage
• Media Coverage of Suicide: Comparative Analysis
• The Work of the Press Councils in Great Britain, Canada, and Israel: A Comparative Approach
• Appendix: Perceptions of Media Coverage among the Israeli-Jewish Public: A Reflection of Existing Social Cleavages? (with Itzhak Yanovitzky)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2001

    Political theorists, politicians, and journalists have good reason to ponder this

    The principle of free communication is probably the most complex and controversial of all constitutional guarantees. Traditionally it has been spoken of as the free speech principle. But that expression conceals the fact that the principle it enunciates is both narrower and wider than its language suggests. The principle does not protect many things that are in a literal sense speech. On the other hand it does protect many things that are not speech. Defamation, obscenity, and fraud may be perpetrated through speech acts but are unprotected. Marching, picketing, and voting are non-speech activities but the free speech guarantee may in certain circumstances protect them. In 1994, in The Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance, Raphael Cohen-Almagor published a pioneering study of the challenge to liberal principles of toleration posed by extremist political parties in Israel. In Speech, Media, and Ethics: The Limits of Free Expression, the examination of the limits of tolerance is extended to embrace the problem of maintaining a free press in the face of challenges from forces that if left unrestrained would destroy the institutions of a free society. This is the classic dilemma of liberal toleration. To the extent that liberal theory can distinguish between what John Stuart Mill - the Founding Father of free speech theory - called discussion and expressive activities that go beyond discussion the classic question whether we should tolerate the intolerant has a simple answer. The toleration of discussion or advocacy extends to the advocacy of violent or extremist policies since ex hypothesi it extends to the advocacy or discussion (if that is what it is) of anything. But the application of that principle and the analysis of what it is that carries communicative activities beyond advocacy are complex. It is also best explored, as here, in relation to concrete instances and experiences. Though much of this study focuses on the necessary limitation of the communicative and journalistic function, it is written from a liberal rather than a communitarian standpoint. Communitarian critics of liberal ideology sometimes write as if liberal theory in its nature were incapable of entertaining societal considerations or limitations on individual aspiration. Liberals are sometimes said to be committed to a metaphysic of the atomic individual. But - unless it is definitionally so arranged - there is nothing in the concept of being an atomic, molecular, or just plain individual that determines how such individuals should behave in relation to each other. Separate identity is not inconsistent with mutual restraint. Individual personalities may wish to limit their activities for good reasons for the sake of other individual personalities - in other words, society. In relation to expression, liberal theory is neither in principle nor in practice incapable of accepting limitations on freedom. It is true that some few American constitutionalists have spoken energetically and unreflectively of the First Amendment¿s free speech guarantee as being absolute within the boundaries of political speech. But that has not been the general consensus, and everywhere courts and commentators in the liberal tradition operate on the assumption that there are principled limitations on expression that may be imposed in a free society and on a free press and, in the latter case, that some of them are best when self-imposed. It is even possible that defenders of liberal and democratic principles may be too modest in expounding them. Raphael Cohen-Almagor presents his conclusions as principles that are fitted for democratic societies rather than doctrines having universal application. It is of course true that non-democratic and non-liberal societies would reject them. Nevertheless, if such principles are advanced as moral propositions they must be universalisable. That is only to say that they will apply in all societies unless there are good reasons for making excep

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