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After Charlie: free speech and the political economy of communication

Hirst, Martin 2014, After Charlie: free speech and the political economy of communication, Journal of politial economy of communication, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 1-4.

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Title After Charlie: free speech and the political economy of communication
Author(s) Hirst, Martin
Journal name Journal of politial economy of communication
Volume number 2
Issue number 2
Start page 1
End page 4
Total pages 4
Publisher IAMCR Political Economy Division
Place of publication Auckland, N. Z.
Publication date 2014-12-16
ISSN 2357-1705
Summary Three significant events at the start of 2015 have put freedom of speech firmly on the global agenda. The first was the carry-over from the December 2014 illegal entry to the Sony Corporation’s file servers by anonymous hackers, believed to be linked to the North Korean regime. The second was the horrible attack on journalists, editors, and cartoonists at the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo on 7 January. The third was the election of leftwing anti-austerity party Syrzia in Greece on 25 January.While each event is different in scope and size, they are important to scholars of the political economy of communication because they all speak to ongoing debates about freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. I name each of these concepts separately because, despite popular confusion, they are not the same thing (Patching and Hirst, 2014) . Freedom of expression is the right to individual self-expression through any means; it is an inalienable human right. Freedom of speech refers to the right (and the physical ability) to utter political speech, to say what others wish to repress and to demand a voice with which to express a range of social and political thoughts. Freedom of the press is a very particular version of freedom of expression that is intimately bound with the political economy of speech and of the printing press. Freedom of the press is impossible without the press and, despite its theoretical availability to all of us, this principle is impossible to articulate without the material means (usually money) to actually deploy a printing press (or the electronic means of broadcasting and publishing).Freedom of expression is immutable; freedom of speech subject to legal, ethical and ideological restriction (for better, or worse) and freedom of the press is peculiar to bourgeois society in that it entails the freedom to own and operate a press, not the right to say or publish on a level playing field. Access to freedom of the press is determined in the marketplace and is subject to the unequal power relationships that such determination implies.It is fitting to start with the Charlie Hebdo massacre because the loss of 17 lives makes this the most chilling of the three events and demands that it be given prominence in any analysis. No lives have been lost yet because Sony’s computers were hacked and the election of Syriza has not (yet) led to mass deaths in Greece.
Language eng
Field of Research 190301 Journalism Studies
Socio Economic Objective 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
HERDC Research category C3.1 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal
Copyright notice ©2014, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30070496

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.