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Myths About Press Freedom

Author(s): Kaarle Nordenstreng

Journal: Brazilian Journalism Research
ISSN 1808-4079

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 15;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Freedom of information | liberalism | UNESCO | United Nations | international law.

This article intends to rectify three popular beliefs related to press freedom: (1) that the idea of a free marketplace of ideas with a self-righting truth belongs to original liberalism, (2) that UNESCO’s primary mission is to promote freedom of information, and (3) that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides legal safeguards for the media. These beliefs are shown, on the basis of the legacy of liberalism and documents of the international community, to be misleading myths. Instead of accurate readings of the idea of freedom, they serve as ideological positions which are harmful to democracy. The Millennium Declaration provides further proof that the international community has a much more balanced view of freedom of information than that typically held by media professionals. Therefore it is important to liberate the concept of press freedom from its ideological baggage.
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