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Freedom, Civility, Commerce: Contemporary Media and The Public

 
Sukumar Muralidharan (Author)
Synopsis

This is among the most comprehensive studies on the media published in recent times. It traverses a vast domain, from the philosophical foundations of free speech, to theories of media functioning and the practice of journalism, and from the early years of print media to television, the internet and social media. It is situated in a wider political context, particularly in the manner it addresses nationalism, global politics and the rise of corporate power in media.

Judicial precedent and social conventions on the limits of free speech are examined over a large geographical canvas and an extended historical frame. Though the focus is on India and the impact of recent decades of neoliberalism, the narrative is inspired by a wider, global view.

Seminal debates since the Enlightenment are dealt with and their trajectories mapped to contemporary times.

This book creates the potential for multiple dialogues. It would be an invaluable resource for those who would wish to learn about the media in terms of its historical development and contemporary functioning. It would be useful for instructors in media studies and for practicing journalists, not to mention engaged citizens of a time of highly “mediatised” perceptions.

This book is the distillate of years of experience in journalism and rigorous academic research.

This book explores a variety of currently debated themes: the right to free speech; the media as an industry; its regulation as a public utility; the ethics of journalism, and its future as part of the democratic discourse.

Free speech is a right claimed by many but a privilege granted very few. The media builds its identity as the institutional embodiment of free speech, but often fails to live up to that billing.

New modes of information sharing are causing a decline in the media industry’s commercial fortunes. Fragmentation and a faltering social consensus are driving an erosion in public trust.

Nation, state and civil society have shaped the new media and adapted in their own distinct ways, not all mutually compatible.

Freedom as a construct is often qualified in its practical application. Commerce is portrayed on occasion as a pursuit promoting freedom. Elsewhere, there is an insistence on civility as the essential virtue that makes freedom possible.

Where does this leave the craft of journalism? Once a part of citizenship in evolving democracies, journalism later was cast as a distinct profession within a structure of commerce.

Even if journalism as a commitment of democratic citizenship never fully receded, defending that status is no longer a social or political priority. This poses a larger category of problems.

Sukumar Muralidharan teaches at the school of journalism, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat. Over a career spanning three decades in the print media, he has worked on areas of science and technology, business, politics and international affairs. He has been a visiting professor in contemporary studies at the Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. As South Asia programme manager for the International Federation of Journalists, he has carried out campaign and advocacy work, and training programmes for journalists over much of the sub-continent. He has been an invited expert at international conferences on the challenges to the media in the current global security scenario. In 2016, he completed a two-year fellowship with the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, where he worked on modes of theorising technological change as part of economic development models.

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Bibliographic information

Title Freedom, Civility, Commerce: Contemporary Media and The Public
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.2018
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9789383968237
length 502p.