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Networked Press FreedomCreating Infrastructures for a Public Right to Hear$
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Mike Ananny

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037747

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037747.001.0001

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What Kind of Press Freedom Does Democracy Need?

What Kind of Press Freedom Does Democracy Need?

(p.11) 2 What Kind of Press Freedom Does Democracy Need?
Networked Press Freedom

Mike Ananny

The MIT Press

This chapter constructs a normative case for press freedom grounded in the idea of a public right to hear, a little examined cornerstone of democratic life. It develops this claim in four ways. First, it argues that the idea of democratic autonomy requires seeing individual freedom as a product of social relationships. Second, it reviews the demands that this view of autonomy makes on free speech, arguing that autonomy requires more than individual expression in marketplaces of speech. Third, it describes a structural, institutional model of the press, grounded in an affirmative interpretation of the First Amendment and a review of relevant U.S. Supreme Court cases to show that there is a basis in law for seeing the press as an institution that could be dedicated to ensuring a public right to hear. Finally, it uses recent literature on the democratic value of listening to argue that the thoughtful absence of speech can be part of a rich system of public communication.

Keywords:   press freedom, public rights, free speech, democratic autonomy, autonomy, individual freedom, First Amendment

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