French Journal for Communication Studies.

Center Researchers Coordinate Issue of French Journal on Media Freedom

University of Georgia researchers coordinated a special issue of the French academic journal, ESSACHESS – Journal for Communication Studies, that was published in July and focused on trends in evaluation of media freedom and the role of the media in the democratization process.

Drs. Tudor Vlad and Lee B. Becker also wrote an introduction to the volume in which they noted that media freedom is recognized as a fundamental right in the United National Declaration of Human Rights yet the extent to which nations enjoy media freedom varies widely.

In the call for submissions to the special journal issues, the authors invited scholars and practitioners around the world to report on efforts to evaluate and score countries in terms of their media freedom and on findings about the impact of media freedom on the society as a whole.

Dr. Vlad is associate director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research and Dr. Becker is director of the Cox Center, a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

The volume of ESSACHESS – Journal for Communication Studies edited by the Cox International Center researchers includes 12 competitively selected articles from authors in Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Morocco, Russia, and the United States.

Among those 12 articles are three from researchers at Freedom House, Reporters sans Frontières and International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), the three major organizations engaged in empirical assessment of media freedom around the world.

All are nongovernmental organizations interested in fostering media freedom. Freedom House and Reporters sans Frontières have the broadest range of countries studied. The IREX Media Sustainability Index has expanded in recent years to cover a broad sweep of countries.

In one of the journal contributions, Sorbonne scholars Michael Palmer and Jérémie Nicey examine how the Internet (and especially the social media) have modified professional journalists’ attitude regarding their business model and the process of news ideation and news production.

Two studies in the volume focus on the role of media during the Tunisian revolution. Zouha Dahmen-Jarrin from Université Stendhal Grenoble concludes in his contribution that Twitter was instrumental in mobilizing and coordinating the protesters during the Arab Spring and in creating an archive of the repression that alerted international public opinion.

Zeineb Touati from Université du Havre describes the minor role of the print press during the revolution in Tunisia, due to censorship and lack of credibility, and argues that the traditional media in the country should improve the professionalism of their journalists to regain the audiences.

Other articles examine the impact of social media on press freedom in Greece and on political isolation in Russia.

The volume is titled Evaluating Press Freedom: Have Social Media Changed the Landscape?

Drs. Vlad and Becker were invited to handle the special issue of the journal, which appeared as Vol 5, No 1 and was published in July.

Drs. Vlad and Becker have written widely on measurement issues in media freedom.

ESSACHESS – Journal for Communication Studies is the only French journal in communication sciences to publish both in French and English original contributions in the field of social, cultural, symbolic or economic communication.

The volume edited by Drs. Vlad and Becker is available online: