Social Responsibility

Social Responsibility
“The media like any other sector should not
harm, but should promote environment and
socio-cultural aspects in relation to the
economy of the place.”
Brief History
• started in the mid-20th century
• used mostly by developing and least developed
• started from Europe
• took a shape with the Commission on the Freedom of
Press that happened in United States in 1949
• designed formally by Siebert, Peterson and Schramm in
1956 in their book
Major Features of Social Responsibility Theory:
• Private press ownership
Press is supposed to be owned privately. The government does not
own the press. The private owners should publish within the ethical
guidelines and in a responsible way.
• Helps democracy prosper
Media helps in maintaining democracy and does not encourage
authoritarianism or communism.
• Media as a democratic institution
Media is not a part of the government and it must work on its own.
It has the freedom to do anything they want, just not work out of
the ethical standards.
• Public participation
Public must get to participate through comments, response, write
and get involved in all aspects of media’s work.
• Emphasis on social responsibility
The media must be responsible towards the society.
• Self-regulation in media
The media must have some boundaries within itself to be ethical.
The regulations are to be followed by all the media professionals
involved in the particular institution.
• Code of ethics
All the media institutions must have a written or unwritten code of
ethics which should be the standard followed by all.
• Professional standards
The quality of the publishing should be maintained, false
interpretation of any information should be avoided.
• Media role of criticizing government
Media is allowed to criticize the government roles, works
and policies. It is done to help the government get better.
• Helping eradicate social problems
Media must speak against and aware people about social
problems as it is media’s responsibility to work for the
betterment of the society.
• Pluralistic media (including ideas and people from
different groups)
Media must write the views of different groups of people
and not only about a single group. It must never be biased.
• Social benefit
Media must work for the society and only do the things
that are beneficial to the society. It should not write about
the things that are ambiguous or contradictory as those
message might cause conflict in the society.
• allows free press without any censorship
• content of the press should be discussed in public
• media should accept any obligation from public
interference or professional self regulations or
• Content is also filtered through public obligation
and interference
• helped in creating professionalism in media by setting
up a high level of accuracy, truth, and information
• changed the way press published news from objective
reporting to interpretative reporting
• the facts provided by the press are analysed and
interpreted so that the people get true information and
understandable news
• helps maintain social harmony by revealing social evils
like corruption and discouraging other bad conducts
• The media is taken as a place for the voiceless to
have a voice and develop public opinions where
each and every person has the right to speak,
express and publish. . It is considered not an end
but a tool for social development. Therefore, the
objectives of media are stated to inform,
document, analyse, interpret, mediate and
mobilize by creating and finding solutions.
The theory allows:
• Everyone to say something or express their opinion about the
• Community opinion, Consumer action and professional ethics.
• Serious invasion of recognized private rights and vital social
• Private ownership in media may give better public service unless
government has to take over to assure the public to provide better
media service.
• Media must take care of social responsibility and if they do not,
government or other organisation will do.
The commission of press council also included some tasks
based on social responsibility of media, which are as follows:
• Formulate and follow the code of conduct for the
• Improve the standards of journalism.
• Safeguard the interests of journalism and
• Criticize and make some penalty for violating the
code of conduct.
Strengths of Social Responsibility Theory:
• It helps in avoiding conflicts during wars and conflicts.
• It accepts public opinion and works for the citizens.
• Press and media houses do not have monopoly as rules and ethics
guide them.
• The media publishes truth due to regulatory activities and their
moral obligation to do so .
• Yellow journalism decreases as media can be questioned by the law
and public.
• There is pluralism and diversification on news and people involved.
• The voiceless and marginalized people are able to raise their voice.
Weaknesses of Social Responsibility Theory:
• Ethics are always vague, ambiguous and differs from
case to case.
• It is difficult to determine who sets clear principles and
• Social responsibility and ethics are morally obligatory
things. Any form of legal limitations should not be
imposed if media is just working in the principle of
responsibility. Laws are authoritative and not
democratic concepts.
“Freedom of expression under the social responsibility theory
is not an absolute right, as under pure libertarian theory. One’s
right to free expression must be balanced against the private
rights of others and against vital society interest.”
– Siebert, Peterson, and Schramm
Related flashcards
Create Flashcards