The Meiklejohn Challenge

McChesney, Robert W.
March 2004
Journalism & Mass Communication Educator;Spring2004, Vol. 59 Issue 1, p24
Academic Journal
This article presents the opinion of the author on Alexander Meiklejohn's contributions to democratic education in the U.S. The commitment of Meiklejohn to informed self-government, to political equality, to establishing the institutional basis for making democracy viable is legendary. Meiklejohn's genius was the linkage of free speech to self-government. Understood as Meiklejohn framed it, there was the basis not for the mindless celebration of freedom on the contemporary U.S., but the measuring stick for a substantive critique. While he never directly confronted the implications of his argument for freedom of the press, one could logically assume that profit-driven media would not qualify for First Amendment protection. His work, therefore, inspired the problem haunting media. This problem exists in all societies, regardless of their structure, but range of available solutions for each society is influenced by its political and economic structures, cultural traditions and communication technologies, among others.


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