The (Free) Press

Peter Black (vote for his excellent law blog, Freedom to Differ, here) links to Jeffrey Feldman’s article at the Huffington Post on ‘The Real Meaning of “Free Press”‘ … it is very critical and angry in parts, relying on Lippmann’s view of the free press as an aspect of democracy (as distinct from an individual right), and concluding with a series of links to alternative media sources (with a suggestion that changing personal media habits can defend the role of the media as watchdog.

Reading it, I was reminded of something I read a few weeks ago and was quite impressed by – André Schiffrin’s short essay (published in Le Monde Diplomatique) on how to pay for a free press. Schiffrin’s concern is with independent publishers, mentioning trust models for newspapers and the experiences of various independent and not-so-independent publishers, with liberal dashings of Habermas, and concluding by wondering whether legislation (to support not-for-profit enterprises) would be helpful. It’s a pity that the analysis doesn’t deal with words other than in the form of dead trees, but nonetheless is an excellent (if somewhat ‘traditional’) read.

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