Four Theories of the Press- Authoritarian, Libertarian, Social Responsibility & Communist Soviet

Four Theories of the Press are Authoritarian Theory, Libertarian Theory, Social Responsibility Theory, Communist Soviet Theory.  Also, 4 Theories of journalism and mass communication.

Four Theories of the Press

The four theories of the press are authoritarian, libertarian, social responsibility, communist soviet Theory. In 1956, three scholars, Schramm, Siebert, and Peterson, published the Four Theories of the Press Book. It is also known as the four theories of the Press by Wilbur Schramm 1956. The Four Theories of the Press Book describes precisely the four theories of the press: Authoritarian Theory, Libertarian Theory, Social Responsibility Theory, Communist Soviet Theory.

Different Types of Journalism
What are the Four Theories of the Press?
The 4 Theories of the Press are:
  1. Authoritarian Theory
  2. Libertarian Theory
  3. Social Responsibility Theory
  4. Communist Soviet Theory

    1. Authoritarian Theory of the Press

The authoritarian theory explains that the government authority directly controls the communication outlets. The government controls the press, information, and communication systems directly and indirectly (Siebert, Peterson, & Schramm, 1956). Sometimes, the government assigns authority to regulate the whole process of the information and communication system in the country. The agency controls the press thoroughly on behalf of the government. For example, the Korean Central News Agency controls the mass media outlets in North Korea.

The press cannot work independently. So, it publishes news and information that the government wants to know the public in the country.  The authority set the code of conduct for the news agencies. Therefore, the news publishing outlets must need to follow the rules and regulations set by the management. The authority also has the right to provide a license and cancel it when they want. Usually, they revoke the license when the media violate the policies imposed by the government. The media practitioners follow the government’s instructions thoroughly to publish the news.

Authoritarian Theory of the Press Example

In the second world war, Hitler controlled the news media in Germany; hence, no press could publish news without the authority’s permission.

authoritarian theory of the press example in Afghanistan in 2021 when Taliban Took over the power

For example, in 2021, the Taliban took over power in Afghanistan, and the management excessively controls all media. Similarly, in Myanmar, the army chief Min Aung Hlaing seized power in 2021.

For example, in North Korea, Myanmar, and Afghanistan

2. Libertarian Theory

Libertarian theory refers to the freedom of the press to disseminate information (Siebert et al., 1956). Therefore, it is also known as the normative theory of mass communication. The mass media outlets are entirely free to publish any ethical news and information. The press works as the watchdog of the community and society in the country.

John Milter was the first introducer of the libertarian press concept. Firstly, In the 1700s, authorities applied the libertarian theory of the press in the USA. After that, and in the 1900s in Europe accepted it. As per the Libertarian press, human beings have the right to know the accurate information published by mass media outlets. The press should disseminate the actual news for society’s people.

Sometimes Wiki leaks platform publishes confidential documents for the public. Therefore, the government of many countries around the world does not allow to practice libertarian press system. It can impact the political parties to form the government.

Libertarian Theory of the Press Examples

Firstly, mass media and communication systems are free from the government to publish news. The government does not control the Press when they disseminate information even though they criticize its activities. Therefore, journalists and media practitioners manage the press directly.

For example, Canada, Switzerland, and New zealand

3. Social Responsibility Theory

Social responsibility theory explains that the press media do not need to take permission from the government to distribute news and information; however, they think about society when publishing news. Therefore, the social responsibility theory of the press has linked the libertarian and authoritarian theories. It lies between those two theories. The media are somewhat free from the government but controlled by the people from the country’s society.

Social Responsibility Theory of the Press Example

In mid 20th century, many countries applied the social responsibility theory incorporating “the Commission of the Freedom of Press” in the United States in 1949. Anyone can express their opinion through mass media. Additionally, mass media play an essential role in raising a voice against discrimination and corruption.

For example, In the USA, UK, and India

4. Communist Soviet Theory

Communist Soviet Theory describes that the ministry of the respective government controls the press media, but they are free to work for the society. The government regulates and guides the mass media outlets for the benefit of the people. They can publish any news without taking permission from the authority, but the government agency controls the entire system at the end of the day.

Communist Soviet Theory Example

The Soviet Union was reconstructed with the new norms based on the Marxist-Leninist beliefs in the 1917th revolution. Communist Soviet Theory is also known as Soviet Media Theory.

This theory is generated from authoritarian theory but contradicted by the libertarian theory. The government agency owns the press media, but they are free to work for society. Finally, the government set official media to deliver the information to society.

For example, In Russia, China, and Cuba

Citation For This Article (APA 7th Edition)
Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2021, September 11). Four Theories of the Press- Authoritarian, Libertarian, Social Responsibility & Communist Soviet. Newsmoor- Educational Website For Online Learning. https://newsmoor.com/four-theories-of-the-press-authoritarian-libertarian-social-responsibility-theory/
Reference
Siebert, F., Peterson, T. B., & Schramm, W. (1956). Four theories of the press: The authoritarian, libertarian, social responsibility, and soviet communist concepts of what the press should be and do (Vol. 10). University of Illinois Press.