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Title:The press as a watchdog of the people: revisiting a theoretical triad
Author:Ibelema, MinabereISNI
Year:2012
Periodical:Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies (ISSN 0256-0054)
Volume:33
Issue:2
Pages:4-19
Language:English
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:press
democratization
values
professional ethics
Link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02560054.2012.684394
Abstract:In political science there are two broadly contending perspectives on the factors of democratization: structural and values-oriented. In journalism discourse the structural perspective is reflected in the considerable literature on the roles of the press as a watchdog of government and business, in the sense of keeping watch on these entities. Not as formally articulated is the role of the press as a watchdog of the people, i.e. as critics of societal values with a bearing on the course of democracy. This article attempts to fill this gap by examining the actual and potential role of the press in bringing about values transformation in newly democratizing countries. It is noted that the African press's orientation to coverage of civic and political issues emphasizes the structural dimensions, especially deficits in leadership and the political process. Yet, in most cases related societal values warrant critical press coverage. It is argued that the African press will further facilitate the consolidation of democracy by elevating its role as a watchdog of the people, and of government and business. This tripartite approach thus has practical as well as theoretical significance. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]
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