Media Ownership and Control Versus Press Freedom in a Democratic Africa | OMICS International
Giddens in Meier said, “The media have a double relation to democracy. a person that will have respect for the ethics of journalism and freedom of expression. An attempt to define the degree of media freedom in contemporary diversity of media ownership, sources of media incomes, and traditions of censorship in . When it comes to the definition of relationship between the mass media and. Justice Ray declared: “Freedom of speech media ownership through do not necessarily make the link between owner- that all kinds of speech in any volume .
Media Ownership and Control Versus Press Freedom in a Democratic Africa
As many people purchase and read big newspapers, of conflict together in this paper. The act and the order were therefore recommended by to use regulation of newspaper infrastructure as a significant the Press Commission to ensure that such concentration of governance tool for media ownership. In the present paper, ownership does not occur. This question is interesting because it reflects tinguish them from the newspaper or media content.
In course a trend. There have been other cases where the government of this, I argue that media infrastructural regulation is unique has sought to regulate media ownership through the regula- as a regulatory method insofar as it succeeds in linking the tion of media infrastructure.
Newspapers However, regulation of media infrastructure also throws up were not allowed to increase their number of pages beyond 10 questions with varied understandings of what it means to have even if this fell under the admissible newsprint quota. Addi- freedom of speech and expression. By regulating circulation each other to find a place in the constitution of freedom of through the limitation on number of pages, and preventing speech and expression.
It is contended that what is aimed at by the impugned legislation is Inthe government imposed an import duty on news- the avoidance of concentration of ownership without interfering with print under Section 12 of the Customs Act, Under the healthy competition between equals equally situated.
Lastly, small newspapers with a circulation of less supplements to be published. Under Section 3 of the act, the than 15, would be exempt from import or customs levies. Daily Newspaper Price and Page Order, was also passed This classification of newspapers as big, medium, and small al- by the government to regulate the sizes and area of advertise- lowed differentiation of the cost of newsprint for each category ments in relation to other matters published in the newspaper.
Both the act and the order essentially sought to regulate Due to levy of higher import duties on big and medium news- the infrastructure, that is the cost—revenue calculus on which papers, the selling price of a copy of a big and that of a medium a newspaper is made possible—the number of pages and newspaper would be proportionally increased. In a situation of advertisements. As a result, smaller newspapers would be able to compete structure was to prevent big, established newspapers from with bigger and medium newspapers.
Attempts to regulate newsprint, commodity, namely, newsprint, resulted in disputes being for instance, rearrange the position of the newspaper, the brought before the Supreme Court such as Sakal Newspapers v reader, and the government with respect to each other to Union of India inBennett Coleman and Others v Union of create a novel configuration. This new configuration presents India in ,7 and Indian Express Newspapers v Union of India a varied set of claims regarding muffling free speech and what inrespectively.
In each of these cases, big newspapers it means to have right to free speech and expression. The fol- challenged the legislation or policy in question and argued lowing sections of this paper examine these varied, and often that by effectively curtailing the circulation of their newspaper, opposing claims, arising out of regulation of media infrastruc- their constitutional rights to free speech and expression were ture in the cases before the Supreme Court.
In each of these cases, the Supreme Court struck down the legislation or policy in question by declaring To Speak and How Much to Speak them to be in violation of Article 19 1 aand therefore, The first set of opposing claims arising from regulation of unconstitutional. This has wherein the issue revolved around whether every person held been argued to be a violation of the right to freedom of speech an equal right to utilise airwaves to broadcast television and expression under Article 19 1 a.
In Bennett Coleman case, signals as part of their guaranteed right to freedom of speech Justice A N Ray, delivering the majority opinion held: The dispute in this case was between Prasar only deprive the petitioners of their economic viability but also restrict Bharati, the public broadcaster, and ESPN, a privately-owed the freedom of expression by reason of the compulsive reduction of sports channel, regarding telecast of a series of cricket matches: The latter claimed an exclusive right to do so through the utili- sation of scarce airwaves; Prasar Bharati contested such a The reduction in the area of coverage for news and views by right.
Concentration of Media Ownership and the Imagination of Free Speech | Economic and Political Weekly
In this case, the Supreme Court, quite unlike the logic it fixing the number of pages and preventing common owner- had employed in deciding the newspaper cases, held that the ship units from starting more than two newspapers was seen right of one entity to use airwaves for broadcast could not be as an assault on the right to freedom of speech and expression. The cast and receive information via television.
Perhaps and expression is not only in the volume of circulation but because other methods of regulating ownership, such as com- also in the volume of news and views. Its objective is to ensure low upheld only when there are absolutely no restrictions on how barriers to entry for newer media owners in the media market, much a single person can speak, or can it also be upheld when and has little to do with media consumers in the market.
However, media infrastructural regulation governs not only The freedom of speech and expression includes a right to the activities of owners of the media, but also the scope of speak and express, but in the light of scarcity of newsprint, for reception of information through such media.
By acknowledg- instance, for a newspaper does this also include a right to ing that the reach of information disseminated through media speak and express as much as one wants without any fetters?
But the government does not In such a scenario, the governance of media ownership see this restraint at this level as a violation of freedom of speech through regulation of media infrastructure throws up a unique and expression. The loss on advertisements may not only entail advertisements and therefore the cut in pages will not be the closing down but also affect the circulation and thereby felt by them if they adjusted their advertisement space.
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Why are then the financial means of sustenance for big to express itself by the media of two or more newspapers. If a common newspapers, namely, advertisements, protected under free- ownership unit were to go on acquiring or sponsoring new newspa- dom of speech and expression here, while not the financial pers and if the claim for quota for all the newspapers is admitted, that means for sustenance of smaller newspapers?
McQuail  further explained that the historical and present day examples of propaganda in action indicate that there is no single formula, since all depends on the contingent circumstances. With the deregulation of the broadcast media around the globe, new private radio and television stations are being established in many African countries.
A closer look at these media organisations further reveals that some influential people in the society who are nursing the ambition of contesting elections or acting as godfathers establish such media organisations with no primary intention of upholding the ethics of journalism, but with the primary aim of using the media to fight the government in power through propaganda and sometimes hate messages.
For reasons which do not go beyond security or profit maximization, many a Nigerian publisher prefers to hobnob with the government and get juicy contracts in order to be part of the nouveau rich in Nigeria using their media as a tools. Since the owner of the private television station openly declared his support for the former president, he was given more prominence and airtime as far as advertisements were concerned. This scenario is common within the continent though the magnitude may differ.
Theoritical Framework The following theories serve as backbone to this paper: Marxist theory of capitalist media 3. Social responsibility theory Libertarian theory According to Odunlami [ 6 ] libertarian theory prescribes that an individual should be free to publish what he likes, holding and expressing his or her opinion freely. Folarin explained that libertarian theory advocates that the press must be seen as partner with government in search of the truth, rather than a tool in the hands of government.
The media have obligations to society, and media ownership is a public trust. News media should be truthful, accurate, fair, objective and relevant 3. The media should be free but self-regulated 4. The media should follow agreed codes of ethics and professional conducts 5.
Under some circumstances, government may need to intervene to safeguard the public interest.
The more sources of information we have, the greater our knowledge. Truth was not a defense to seditious libel because the goal was to prevent and punish all condemnation of the government. Locke contributed to the lapse of the Licensing Act inwhereupon the press needed no license. Still, many libels were tried throughout the 18th century, until "the Society of the Bill of Rights" led by John Horne Tooke and John Wilkes organized a campaign to publish Parliamentary Debates.
This culminated in three defeats of the Crown in the cases of Almon, of Miller and of Woodfallwho all had published one of the Letters of Juniusand the unsuccessful arrest of John Wheble in Thereafter the Crown was much more careful in the application of libel ; for example, in the aftermath of the Peterloo MassacreBurdett was convicted, whereas by contrast the Junius affair was over a satire and sarcasm about the non-lethal conduct and policies of government.
In Britain's American colonies, the first editors discovered their readers enjoyed it when they criticized the local governor; the governors discovered they could shut down the newspapers. The most dramatic confrontation came in New York inwhere the governor brought John Peter Zenger to trial for criminal libel after the publication of satirical attacks.
The defense lawyers argued that according to English common law, the truth was a valid defense against libel.
Freedom of the press - Wikipedia
The jury acquitted Zenger, who became the iconic American hero for freedom of the press. The result was an emerging tension between the media and the government.Freedom of Speech: Crash Course Government and Politics #25
By the mids, there were 24 weekly newspapers in the 13 colonies, and the satirical attack on government became common features in American newspapers. The individual has the right of expressing himself so long as he does not harm other individuals. The good society is one in which the greatest number of persons enjoy the greatest possible amount of happiness.