Scholars of international relations and international communications view the extent of media freedom from country to country as a key comparative indicator either by itself or in correlation with other indices of national political and economic development. This indicator serves as a bellwether for gauging the health and spread of democracy.
Historical Guide to World Media Freedom is a new reference from CQ Press that brings together comprehensive historical data on media freedom since World War II. It provides consistent and comparable measures of media freedom in all independent countries for the years 1948 to the present. The work also includes country-by country summaries, analyses of historical and regional trends in media freedom, and extensive reliability analyses of media freedom measures.
The key information provided is designed to help researchers connect these historical measures of media freedom to Freedom House's annual Freedom of the Press survey release, enabling them to extend their studies back before the 1980s when Freedom House began compiling global press freedom measures.
The reference covers three major areas
-introductory chapters discuss the theoretical premises behind the nature and importance of media freedom, operational definitions of media freedom, the challenges of compiling reliable measures, historical trends, and the challenges of coding for media freedom in a way that ensures consistency for comparison.
-the heart of the book includes alphabetical, country-by-country summaries of the ebb and flow of media freedom paired with national media freedom measures over time. This is essential reading for researchers to connect the dots in understanding global media freedom.
-concluding material provides a detailed discussion of the historical patterns in media freedom, consideration of how media freedom tracks with other cross-national indicators, and discussion of the reliability of the information available on media freedom.
Accessible to both students and scholars alike, this groundbreaking new reference will be essential to collections in political science, international studies, and journalism and communications.
Chapter 3: The Historical Development and Correlates of Media Freedom
The Historical Development and Correlates of Media Freedom
It is impossible to pinpoint the beginning of media freedom, but if we could do so, we would probably also identify the first effort to constrain it. Historically, every potential advance in media freedom has been met with attempts to rein it in. In fact, producing and delivering news has always been a perilous business. Variations on the phrase “don't shoot the messenger” appear in literature penned more than two thousand years ago. For example, back around 442 BCE, Sophocles wrote, “no man delights in the bearer of bad news.”1 So for thousands of years, people providing news and information have known that they might get into trouble when others—especially ...