Course syllabus by



S. Arkhipov







In order the students could be active citizens of their countries they should possess scholastic knowledge on a role of the press in a society as far as Mass Media are not only a basis of any state, but also and a key factor in long-term sustainable development.


In the end of the 20th century many states created the democratic republics guaranteeing freedom of the press, however some governments excluded it from democratic values. The situation started to change in connection with fast development of technology of communications. National borders are not a barrier for the news flow nowadays; therefore autocratic governments meet more difficulties to hold journalists under tough control.


After falling Berlin wall in 1989 democratic governments began actively forming new conditions for development of the free press. These efforts led to various degree of success. In conditions of absence the checks and balances characterizing the mature democracy sudden liberation Mass Media from the control has created vacuum in the countries with transitive economy, which various forces have tried to fill in to use Mass Media in their own interests.


Political and technological innovations have led to expansion of opportunities for journalists, however new conditions have created new challenges and unknown problems. Popular magazines and newspapers lost financial stability and some of them disappeared from the market as well as a number of TV and radio programs were sharply reduced.






The purpose of the course is an attempt to teach the students deeply understand problems of modern journalism. During lectures and seminars they should learn some questions of paramount importance for further development of Mass Media. For example, why leaders of some democratic states often use old methods of management the press? Why some governments show unwillingness to give equal access to radio frequencies to private stations and take steps to limit dialogue with public to those expresses disagreement with an official policy? Whether statements about revival of the economic censorship limiting resources to newspapers and magazines are fair? Whether the facts of financial pressure upon democratic Mass Media prove to be true?


The students should study how Mass Media respond to pressure from governmental officials and how journalists continue to struggle for their audience. What they did in order to update design and manage their editions successfully as well as how they compete the newest media of mass communications and, especially, Internet.


The primary goal of the course is to re-consider role of freedom of the press and the social responsibility of journalism as a social value. It is planned to make the review of various definitions of freedom of a press, to analyze how much these definitions correspond to Russian conditions. There will be also an analysis of conflicts between values bounded up with freedom of the press and with such as privacy, public safety, copyright, and censorship. A number of problems connected with technological innovations in sphere of mass communications should be discussed during this course.






To become proficient in the topic in question all students should study recommended literature for the course. General requirements aim both to provide students with deep knowledge as well as to develop their rhetorical skills and readiness to use them in public debates.


After end of study the course all students should be able to analyze professional, legal, ethical, and economic context out of which concepts of freedom of the press and social responsibility of journalism arose. They should also conduct tolerantly to the points of view not only supporters, but also opponents of freedom of the press. For this purpose they should know the most widespread concepts and definitions of freedom of the press and the social responsibility of journalism, beginning from occurrence of this value down to its modern condition as well as major scholastic publications on this topic.


Finally all students should possess deep knowledge on historical, philosophical, political, cultural, and legal aspects of Mass Media evolution within different cultures and civilizations. They should also fulfill class assignments, which include tasks for reading, work in groups, written work, oral presentation, participating in debates of current issues of Mass Media development, successfully to pass mid-term tests and final exam.


Having achieved each of educational goals, students will both expand their knowledge and develop their ability to defend their new values in public debates.


Any educator can use both the book and this syllabus to teach this discipline at their institutions of higher learning in Russia and abroad expanding or reducing lectures and seminars at their own discretion.















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