Policy Environment: The Media

Institutional Role

A free society is inconceivable without a free press.1 The maxim that democracy is government by discussion is qualified by the condition that the discussion should be informed and rational. The media has the institutional responsibility to facilitate informed and rational discussion, and to help citizens make intelligent choices through continual provision of accurate information, setting agenda and placing issues in a proper context. The role of the press, which before the advent of radio was the one and only media, was considered so important that it was named the Fourth Estate.2 Editors and journalists are ‘officeholders’, though not elected or selected by the citizens. Many journalists ...

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