Media & Democracy

Article excerpt

Media & Democracy. Everette E. Dennis and Robert W. Snyder, eds. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1998. 220 pp. $24.95 pbk.

Everette Dennis and Robert Snyder have produced this interesting and valuable book at an important time in American and international journalism history. There was a time when journalism educators interested in the role of journalism in the democratic process would primarily focus on media influence and censorship beyond our borders. However, especially with the increased "corporatization" of U.S. print and electronic media, instructors often take to the classroom concerns about the freedom of our own media, concerns we did not have two decades ago.

A common criticism of an edited book is that both the writing and selection of chapters is uneven. This is not the case with Media & Democracy; the editors have done a solid job of ensuring a good fit for the selected material. Many of the authors have been Media Studies Center fellows at Columbia University where Dennis was the founding director and Snyder is editor of the Center's Media Studies Journal.

The book is organized into five parts: Definitive Questions, Media and the Dynamics of Democracy Around the World, Journalism as a Democratic Discipline, Democracy and New Media, and Books. The two short chapters in Part I, "Definitive Questions," are written by Leo Bogart and Dennis McQuail, who set up the important questions and concerns addressed by contributors.

Part II, "Media and the Dynamics of Democracy around the World," comprises the bulk of the publication, eleven chapters that those interested in international journalism will find worthwhile. In fact, this reviewer will probably use the book as a supplemental text in an international communication course. The chapters in their own ways discuss press freedom (or lack thereof), censorship, and attempts to control the print and broadcast media abroad. Of particular note are the contributions by Boutros-Ghali, former U.N. Secretary General, "Opinion-The New Authority"; Vaclav Havel, Czech Republic President, "The Soul of Soul"; Orville Schell, China Expert, "Maoism vs. …


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