Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Management Role in Ensuring Editorial Freedom

Category Democracy, Freedom
Essay type Research
Words 525 (2 pages)
Views 262
Responsibility, credibility and quality are key words for a large, serious media group. This applies in relation to the users of our media, customers, employees, shareholders and the societies in which we work. At the forefront, however, is the publishing responsibility: to safeguard editorial independence and freedom of speech in the media which we own. Free media are among the main contributors to strong, live democracies. A credible, strong media should defend important values such as religious freedom, tolerance, human rights and democratic principles. They must reflect a diversity of opinion.

For this reason, they should also provide different ways of looking at issues and views on important questions in public debates. The management must facilitate editors in complying with the legislation and ethical regulations of the country where the operations take place. Editorial quality and credibility are the cornerstone of publishing activities and these, together with the individual medium’s articles of association, form the basis for the editors’ work. The editor-in-chief has full freedom and is personally and fully responsible for the content of the medium of which he or she is in charge.

However, there are only few publications that allow their editors with total freedom. In reality, an independent press is a myth. Or at best, a glorified term. Most editors dare not write their honest comment/opinion. In other words, they are sometimes paid to keep their honest opinions out of the paper. And if they do defy the management, they would soon be out on the streets hunting for a new job. Most managements have vested interests – political, social and cultural in running the paper, which may not gel with the opinions held by the editors they employ.

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It is here that the editors have to either compromise with their editorial values or pay a price for standing up to them. In private, corporate media environments, editorial hiring and firing are the preserve of the owners. Media houses (read owners) have become highly profit-oriented organizations. So editorial values are always at stake Distortion of news and comment in such a scenario becomes the order of the day. Most owners hand-pick their editors so that the policy of the owner becomes the policy of the editor.

Dissent is seldom allowed It is media owners who possess the greater weapon today – i. e. , one useful against incumbent politicians fearful of bad press, lack of access, and endorsement of opponents. This sorry, quid-pro-quo, relationship leads to media corruption, benefitting only the ruling, corporate, class. Managements giving complete editorial freedom is therefore rare. But any newspaper which enjoys more flexibility and freedom from their management, has the potential to make greater impact and live up to the reputation of a frank, fair and fearless media.

Today's concentration of media ownership and editorial power brings into sharp focus not only the immense responsibility, but also the freedom and estate of editors - in particular those with huge audiences. Yet it is major-media owners, and their hand-picked editors, who decide what the vast majority see, hear, and read. Media owners and their editors have become the unelected, and unregulated, keepers of the public trust and molders of the public mind.

Management Role in Ensuring Editorial Freedom essay

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