The Role Of Journalism And Democracy And What Is The Most Powerful Current Threat That Role?

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WHAT IS THE ROLE OF JOURNALISM IN DEMOCRACY AND WHAT IS THE MOST POWERFUL CURRENT THREAT TO THAT ROLE?

Journalism and democracy are arguably inextricably intertwined concepts, each having a vital role in the effective function of the other. Democracy as a term and an inherent notion finds it origins from Ancient Greece with the term being derived from the Ancient Greek words ‘demos’ – people and ‘kratia’ – power (The Daily Miracle: An Intriduction to JOuranlism p. 45). Traditionally, journalism has been considered to play an integral role as somewhat of a gatekeeper of democracy by promoting and upholding the democratic societal values upon which countries such as Australia have been built. This role was first classified as ‘the Fourth Estate’ by Thomas Carlyle (whom attributed Edmund Burke with coining the term) (A Journalists’ Guide to Media Law, p. 25). According to Carlyle, Burke said “…there were 3 estates in the (English) Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth estate more important far than they all…whoever can speak, speaking now to the whole nation, becomes a power, a branch of Government with unalienable weight in law-making, in all acts of authority” (p. 315 Stephen Lamble, News and Power). The quintessence of this notion is clearly explicated by the role the ABC investigative program Four Corners plays in ensuring the leaders in Australian society are kept to account. The program has won a myriad of awards for its investigative…

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