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Accountability of the Media

Young Min


The accountability of the media is a normative notion that underlies the balance of freedom and social responsibility across media structure, performance, and product. In order to grasp the concept, we need to understand how closely related the two competing values of freedom and responsibility are. Press freedom has been constitutionally protected to guarantee a →  free flow of information by which citizens are empowered and directly involved in public life (→  Freedom of the Press, Concept of ). From the birth of the press its freedom has been strongly connected with social expectations for the media to protect the →  public interest and to improve the quality of democracy. This is why James Carey points to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as “a compact description of a desirable political society” ( Merritt & McCombs 2004 , 13). In short, the most important rationale of press freedom lies in the belief in the positive role of the media to build desirable citizenship, community, and democracy. In that regard, press freedom is not an absolute value or a natural right. Even in most advanced democracies, press freedom has been constrained for various reasons – when it is in conflict with other constitutional rights or in order to satisfy various public interest requirements. Settling conflicts between different constitutional rights is largely a legal ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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