Friday, October 1, 2010

Silencing Dissent: Part II

This is an addendum to the article that I posted earlier today. I found an excellent article, Silencing Dissent: The impact of restrictive media environments on regime support, by Pippa Norris (Harvard University) and Ronald Inglehart (University of Michigan) on the effects of state control of the media.

Their findings show that state control of the media has its intended effect:

The results of evidence presented here therefore supports the proposition that state control of the broadcasting airwaves and limits on press freedom do achieve their intended effect, by strengthening regime support among the news audience in these societies. Contrary to conventional notions of ‘limited media effects’, derived from the classic Hovland experiments and the long tradition established by Lazarsfeld (Katz and Lazarsfeld 1955), state control of the airwaves matters.

Natan Sharansky: "Free societies are societies in which the right of dissent is protected," says Mr. Sharansky, a former Soviet refusenik and prisoner, Israeli politician, human rights activist and author."
Courtesy: Kika Sso, 2007. 
Such findings partly explain why repressive regimes find the proposition of controlling the media an attractive one. This, of course, is bad for liberal democracy and the values of freedom of  the press, and freedom of expression.