Media Ethics, Free Speech, and the Requirements of Democracy  book cover
1st Edition

Media Ethics, Free Speech, and the Requirements of Democracy

Edited By

Carl Fox


Joe Saunders

ISBN 9780203702444
Published January 15, 2019 by Routledge
278 Pages

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Book Description

How we understand, protect, and discharge our rights and responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society committed to the principle of political equality is intimately connected to the standards and behaviour of our media in general, and our news media in particular. However, the media does not just stand between the citizenry and their leaders, or indeed between citizens and each other. The media is often the site where individuals attempt to realise some of the most fundamental democratic liberties, including the right to free speech.

Media Ethics, Free Speech, and the Requirements of Democracy explores the conflict between the rights that people exercise in, and through, the modern media and the responsibilities that accrue on account of its awesome and increasing power. The individual chapters—written by leading scholars from the US, UK, and Australia—address several recent events and controversial developments in the media, including Brexit, the rise of Trump, Lynton Crosby, Charlie Hebdo, dog-whistle politics, fake news, and political correctness. This much-needed philosophical treatment is a welcome addition to the recent literature in media ethics. It will be of interest to scholars across political and social philosophy, applied ethics, media and communication studies, and political science who are interested in the important issues surrounding the media and free speech and democracy.

Table of Contents


Carl Fox and Joe Saunders

Part I: Democracy and the Media

1. Immigration in the Brexit Campaign: Protean Dogwhistles and Political Manipulation

Jennifer Saul

2. The Ethics of Interrogation

Julian Baggini

3. Lynton Crosby and the Dark Arts of Democracy

Joe Saunders

4. Trust Me: News, Credibility Deficits, and Balance

Carrie Figdor

5. Protecting Politicians’ Privacy for the Sake of Democracy

Rob Lawlor and Kevin Macnish

Part II: Free Speech and the Media

6. Free Speech and Liberal Community

Gerald Lang

7. Political Correctness Gone Viral

Robert Simpson and Waleed Aly

8. Journalism, Offence, and Free Speech

Carl Fox

9. The Real Story about Fake News

Kay Mathiesen

Part III: Bias, Ideology and the Media

10. How Media Makes, Ignites and Breaks Ideology

David Livingstone Smith

11. "I’m not with stupid": Tales of False Consciousness for a Post-Brexit Age

Lorna Finlayson

12. Partisan News, the Myth of Objectivity, and the Standards of Responsible Journalism

Christopher Meyers

13. The Obligation to Diversify One’s Sources: Against Epistemic Partisanship in the Consumption of News Media

Alex Worsnip

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Carl Fox is a lecturer at the IDEA Centre in the University of Leeds. He won the 2014 Robert Papazian Essay Prize for his paper on ‘Political Authority, Practical Identity, and Binding Citizens’. He has also worked as a sub-editor on the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, and Evening Herald.

Joe Saunders is an Assistant Professor in Philosophy at Durham University. Funnily enough, he won the 2015 Robert Papazian Essay Prize for his paper ‘Kant and the Problem of Recognition’. He currently works on freedom, love, media ethics, Kant and the post-Kantian tradition.


"This is an excellent book filled with original and thought-provoking arguments. As any good book in applied ethics, it should appeal to a broad audience as well as to professional philosophers. Scholars and advanced students in other related fields, as well as practitioners of journalism will find this book rewarding and accessible."Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"All in all, this is an interesting and coherent collection, which is definitely worth a read."European Journal of Communication