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Title: The illusion of the free press : the place of truth in the liberal theory
Author: Charney, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 3852
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis offers a critical analysis of the role of the free press in liberal democracies. The purpose is to explore why this institution remains a fundamental element of this political system despite its limitations in the mediation of social reality. Although the critical literature has substantially contributed to unveiling the problems of the ‘free press’, however, it has not been able to contribute in the same way to explaining its resilience. This is because the critical literature has generally conceived the problem of the free press as one of false consciousness, as something that might be removable or disposable, hence, the ‘illusion of the free press’. This thesis supercedes this critical approach. It starts from the assumption that the illusion of the free press is not removable. It is, by contrast, structurally ingrained in the institution itself and in its modes of production. It is expressed both in the aspiration of the press to communicate reality as it is and in the correspondent expectation of the public that it will achieve this aim. The idea of the free press is, in other words, founded on the union between freedom and truth, values whose realization require modes of communication which contradict each other. This thesis runs an immanent critique of liberal theories of the free press in order to explore within established liberal discourse the contradictions ingrained in this institution. This analysis will reveal that truth has a significant place in the most prominent justifications of the free press, although its contemporary versions, such as democratic and autonomy theories, have traditionally rejected its truth-seeking purpose. These findings are a contribution to the critical literature on the subject and reaffirm the urgent task of re-thinking the role of the free press in liberal democracies in consonance with its limitations and actual possibilities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available