Risks to Journalists’ Safety and the Vulnerability of Media Freedom in the U.S.

Sadia Jamil, Glenn W. Muschert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Media freedom is primarily the freedom of diverse forms of media and sources of communication. Traditionally, freedom of the press is conceptualized as the freedom to publish; however, the notion of media freedom is much broader as it encompasses the freedom both to publish and to broadcast, emphasizing the idea that media in information societies consist of more than print sources (e.g. newspapers and magazines) and incorporates electronic sources of communication as well, such as radio, television, and the Internet. Hence, freedom of the media is indispensable for democratic societies given that the media are an outlet for public discussion and opinion and basically operate to seek the truth, educate the public, and serve as a watchdog over government.

Threats to journalists and attacks on media freedom undermine the proper functioning of the United States as a democratic society, as the ability of journalists to investigate and report on controversial topics becomes threatened by the government and pressure groups such as criminal gangs, terrorists, and corporate giants. In the U.S., as elsewhere, freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and a precondition for many other democratic rights. According to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Restrictions on freedom of expression can be direct (such as stringent laws) and indirect (such as censorship pressure from the government and military), and vary relative to social contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgenda for Social Justice 2020
Subtitle of host publicationSolutions for 2020
EditorsGlenn W. Muschert, Kristen M. Budd, Michelle Christian, Robert Perrucci
PublisherBristol University Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781447354611
ISBN (Print)9781447354300
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameSSSP Agendas for Social Justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)


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