Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Theories generally are ideas or statements that are meant to explain reality.They may include the Social Responsibility Theory and the Libertarian Theory.

The Libertarian theory,when introduced undermined the Authoritarian Theory which operates under purely authoritarian environment.The Libertarian theory hence introduced freedom of the media which is a key factor not present in authoritarianism.Consequently, the media became independent from government control of its operations and also free from censorship.

Social Responsibility Theory is also all about freedom of the media.Here, the media has the freedom to operate but is conscious of the idea of social responsibility.In social responsibility theory,the media ought to do what the public experts from them. It is expected to work to achieve freedom and conformity in society.

It is then obvious that there are certain similarities between these two theories.An evident one is that they stress on freedom of the media.In the Authoritarian Theory, the media do not have that freedom to operate,so it works as a mouthpiece of the government and serves as a propaganda tool for the government.
Subsequently,the Social Responsibility Theory and the Libertarian Theory emphasise on the key factor,that is freedom.

They also stress on the non-interference of government on the media activities.Since the interference of government will consequently lead to authoritarianism hence abusing the freedom of the press.

Also, these two particular theories identify the need for access to wide diversity of information by the public.It is so because the media works only for the interest of the public.

Another key factor of the Social Responsibility Theory and the Libertarian Theory is that they all play the role of watchdogs to check on activities of the government.The media reports to the public and keeps the public informed about the 'going-in' and the 'coming-out' of the the government.Therefore the government also keeps in mind the idea of the watchdog role of the media.

Despite these similarities of the Social Responsibility Theory and the Libertarian Theory,there are also certain differences.

In the Libertarian Theory,the media does not work within any framework of rules.Here the media has the freedom to report on anything not taking into consideration the effects it will have on the public.But in the Social Responsibility Theory,the media works under certain rules such as code of ethics which restricts its operation.

The idea of responsibility in the Social Responsibility Theory imposes a restriction on the media's operations but there is absolute freedom without any sense of responsibility in the Libertarian Theory.

The Libertarian Theory does not provide objective and accurate information from the media but due to the presence of codes of ethics or regulations, the Social Responsibility Theory allows for objectivity and accountability of the media.

Conclusively, it can be deduced that in the Libertarian Theory the media does not operate with professionalism but the Social Responsibility Theory encourages professionalism on media reportage.


  1. The above article shows that the media under both theories will be comfortable to operate as compared to the other theories of the press though there are some criticisms about them.

  2. Your work was well elaborated to ones understanding on the principles of the two theories.