FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: A Continuing Struggle by M. L. Stein

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: A Continuing Struggle

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Juvenile nonfiction generally sticks to the facts and it's good to have a book which, like this, discusses one of the great intangibles of life. The topic here is the freedom of the press--one of Kirkus' favorite liberties--and the coverage provided has a great deal of breadth and some depth. Written by the chairman of New York University's Department of Journalism, this very readable account goes into the many different areas affected by the First Freedom, and designates the ambiguities it inevitably implies. The most interesting and discussable chapters deal with the least definable, but most controversial aspects--the fact that news must inevitably be slanted (by editors, by public relations promoters, by those who divulge the news, by the wishes expressed by the purchasing public); the instances where a free press may be accused of treading on other liberties (in over-exposed pre-trial coverage, by making libelous statements); some frequent attacks on the press (the charge of bias in editorials, reviews, or the selection of what is newsworthy); the problems in reporting political news (what must be withheld for security purposes vs. deleterious information which the public should be aware of). Also touched upon are the other media concerned with free speech and the special forms of censorship which they involve, and the way the lack of a free press has affected other countries. The author tends to side toward the press, but the questions are left wide open. School journalists will be interested in the problems this introduces; civics students will find it a source of debate.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1966
Publisher: Messner