Press law debate in kenya: Ethics as political power

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 12 (3):171 – 182 (1997)
Journalists in many Afiican countries have long been caught between differing ideals i n their relationship between press and government. Two models viefor dominance-the western, libertarian and development journalism models. This article uses Walzer's (1983) theory of distributive justice to illuminate the ethical significance of this debate. A t issue is political power. A case study of the 1996 proposed press law i n Kenya illustrates the ethical arguments mounted for each press model and how the arguments are marshaled not necessarily for moral purposes but to gain political advantage. Finally, a viable third alternative avoids a false dilemma between the libertarian and development journalism models. Communitarianism preserves the independence from government SO central to the libertarian model while providing a basis for activist journalism.
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DOI 10.1207/s15327728jmme1203_4
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Richard B. Brandt (1959). Ethical Theory. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.

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