From what I gather from my readings, the western world has 2 models that they follow in the modern-day world of media.
1) The social responsibility system
~ In the social responsibility theory of the press, the media is driven to benefit the public. It expects journalists to answer society's need for truth, requires an open and diverse debate on public issues, and honest updates of current events. In this model, media ethics is automatic because the press is free to serve its purpose for the public, as opposed to special interest groups or advertisers. Another condition of the social responsibility model is that news reporting cannot be dependent on groups that may encourage bias and unethical practices in exchange for financial support.
2) The Libertarian system
~ The Libertarian model is more popular in than the social responsibility model. In this system, the freedom of the press is endless; it is not constrained by the government, by society, or by media ethics. Instead of being a sea of different ideas, opinions, and voices however, news reporting in the Libertarian system is indeed restricted. It may not be as limited and biased as the media found in an authoritarian society, which would serve the government's interests, but it is still constrained by its financial dependence. Western media outlets, particularly television stations, rely heavily on advertisers for money, and therefore design their news reporting to support and never conflict with the will of their financial supporters. Also, because of the deregulation movement of the past fifteen years, Congress and the FCC have allowed more freedom within the telecommunications field, loosening laws that were at one time designed to ensure social responsibility and ethics in the media. Today, a large percentage of Western media outlets, especially those in America, are part of a handful of media conglomerates, companies that have to focus on increasing their profits every year. Back to this...
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