In “Foundations and Limits of Freedom of the Press, “ Judith Lichtenberg explores the ongoing controversial argument surrounding the regulation of the press and mass media. She evaluates the ability of the press to shape our opinions and values through an examination of the interdependent relationship between freedom of speech and press. Furthermore, she notes that, while the two rights appear similar as they are both considered as forms of self-expression, it is important to differ between the two.
While Lichtenberg states that freedom of speech and freedom of press are “inseparable” and “equally fundamental” she also claims that there are distinct difference between the two basic rights (Lichtenberg 329). She defines the freedom of speech as the equal foundational right to symbolic expression of multiplicity of voices (Lichtenberg 337). The main difference between freedom of speech and press lies in that freedom of press is in the public domain and once self-expression is launched into a public sphere, it threatens to restrict another’s autonomy. Here Lichtenberg uses the analogy of a restaurant to illustrate her claim. Although the restaurant may be privately owned, its success depends on the public; therefore it ceases to remain an entirely private institution (Lichtenberg 343). While freedom of speech concerns only the individual and is nearly unconditional, freedom of press regards organizations that lies in the public domain therefore we it should be exercised carefully to ensure it promotes the right values of freedom of expression (Lichtenberg 332).
Since freedom of press emphasizes on the multiplicity of voices, Lichtenberg argues that the Fairness Doctrine needs to be applied to media to ensure all voices are heard (Lichtenberg 331). It is applied in variation on the three main mediums of press – print, broadcasting and telecommunications. Print, perhaps, has the least constrains when it comes to publication of multiplicity. The law does not restrict one’s right to publish nor does it control the material an individual or organization prints. Therefore, a single story can be covered and handled differently by different newspapers. Furthermore, when the New York Times printed documents from the Pentagon papers, it was in their full right to do so. However, the government is allowed to exercise power to regulate circulating materials and recall the information after publishing (Lecture 12/3).
On the other hand, stricter regulation has been applied to broadcasting...