• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies examines the theories, practices, and future of this fast-growing field. Editor John Downing and associate editors Denis McQuail, Philip Schlesinger, and Ellen Wartella have brought together a team of international contributors to provide a varied critical analysis of this intensely interesting field of study. The Handbook offers a comprehensive review within five interconnected areas: humanistic and social scientific approaches; global and comparative perspectives; the relation of media to economy and power; media users; and elements in the media mosaic ranging from popular music to digital technologies, from media ethics to advertising, and from Hollywood and Bollywood to alternative media.

Government, the State, and Media
Government, the state, and media

How can states influence media and news? For half a century, most textbooks have answered this question using the famous “four theories” developed by Siebert, Peterson, and Schramm (1956).

Two of these theories mirrored ideal types inherited from the 18th century. In the “authoritarian” theory, the one and only role of the press is to be the loudspeaker of the rulers. Censorship and a harsh system of penalties organize this subordination. Swift had no choice but to use the ruse of fiction in Gulliver's Travels to criticize the corruption of the English monarchy. Conversely, symbolized by the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, the “libertarian” pattern protects the freedom of the press and critical speech, as well ...

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