Four Theories of the Press- Authoritarian, Libertarian, Social Responsibility

The Four Theories of the Press are Authoritarian Theory, Libertarian Theory, Social Responsibility Theory, Communist Soviet Theory, Authoritarian Theory.

Four Theories of the Press

Schramm, Siebert, and Peterson introduced the Four Theories of the Press book in 1956. This book explains the four types of the press: Authoritarian Theory, Libertarian Theory, Social Responsibility Theory, Communist Soviet Theory.

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

The press and communication system is controlled by the government nominated authority or agency. Press is responsible for explaining to society what is actually the government want to know the society. Press confirm the truth of the news provided by the government.

The government has the right to filter any news published by the press.

If any news goes against the laws, the press license will pull back by the government.

2. Libertarian Theory

Libertarian theory is also part of the normative theories of mass communication. The press is absolutely free to disseminate any news that is ethical to publish. Actually, newspapers play a role as the watchdog of society.

John Milter was the pioneer of the libertarian concept of mass communication that started end of 1700, developed in the US and Europe in 1900.  According to the Libertarian concept, the human is a rational individual to know the truth.

For example,

  • The press must be free from the government.
  • The press not depend on the government and is free to speak.
  • Press controlled by journalists and media.
    3. Social Responsibility Theory

Social responsibility theory allows the press to publish news without taking permission from the government, but at the same time, they need to liaise with society. So, social responsibility theory lies between libertarian and authoritarian theory. It frees the media from the government but is controlled by society’s people.

Assumption of this theory- the power of monopoly media effect from Libertarian theory.

From this theory-  that have ownership of the media, they will decide what they should expose to the audience.

4. Communist Soviet Theory

The government controls the press and communication system to serve the benefits of the people.

  • Developed from authoritarian theory- opposed the libertarian theory
  • Press as a tool for the government. Owned by government
  • Information and ideas decided by the government will be delivered to the society through an official medium
What Is Newspaper?

The newspaper is a daily publication that includes local and international news, advertisement, cartoon, and sports events.

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