1st Edition

The Disputed Freedoms of a Disrupted Press

By Ivor Shapiro Copyright 2024

    The Disputed Freedoms of a Disrupted Press explores the origins, connections, and contradictions evident amongst divergent understandings of press freedom around the world.

    Drawing on examples from various countries and cultures, this book distinguishes the universal right of free expression from the more complex and innately conditional liberties claimed by news media. It examines journalists’ common goals and norms in light of polarized and disordered information channels, reckonings with identity and privilege, diminished public trust, and altered revenue streams. The author discusses emerging forms of accurate, contextualized news production and argues that journalistic autonomy can be sustained only through demonstrated accountability for providing factual information about public affairs according to self-regulated professional standards. The book concludes by proposing a principle-based framework for enhancing the case for press protections and opposing disinformation while minimizing harm. Adopting this approach would require many publishers and editors to consider paradigm shifts and structural changes.

    This is a timely contribution to the body of literature on press freedom and will be a valued resource for advanced students and researchers seeking a contemporary understanding of journalistic practice and the evolving foundations of media law.


    Chapter 1. The Cost of Liberty

    Speech, Disrupted

    The Human Rights Revolution

    When Words Hurt: The Harm Principle

    But, the "Press"?

    Chapter 2. Toward a Free Press

    The Prisoner's Book

    Birth of a Liberty

    From Debut to Disruption (A View from South Africa)

    Particular Roles, Particular Rights

    Chapter 3. The End of The Press That Was

    "Good Faith:" The Policing of a Journalist’s Mind

    Rights Reserved, with Conditions Attached

    Privileging a Qualified Press (A View from Canada)

    Information Disorder and The New "News"

    Chapter 4. Shifting Truths, Altered Missions

    This, Too, Is News: Journalism’s Evolving Shapes

    Is That a Fact? Now, It All Depends

    Taking Sides with Truth (A View from Argentina)

    The Duties That Freedom Demands

    Chapter 5. A Profession Whose Time Has Come

    Where Local News Blooms

    From Boundary Work to Professional Standards

    Embracing Accountability (A View from Norway)

    Facing The Crisis of Trust

    Chapter 6. The Precarious Future of a Disrupted Press

    The Day They Switched Off Journalism

    News Under the Guns (A View from Kashmir)

    Renewing the Freedom of a Precarious Press

    What’s Worth Fighting For




    Ivor Shapiro is Scholar in Residence at the Centre for Free Expression, Toronto Metropolitan University. He is a former chair of that university’s School of Journalism, where he taught narrative reporting as well as media ethics and law until 2020. Shapiro’s scholarship on journalists’ professional identity and practice has been published in leading international journals and collections and he is an editorial board member of Journalism Studies. Previous roles have included chair of the ethics advisory committee of the Canadian Association of Journalists, principal investigator of the Canadian Worlds of Journalism Study, founding editor of J-Source.ca, managing editor of Chatelaine magazine, and contributing editor of Saturday Night.