Stability and Change in Support for Free Expression among
Those Preparing for Careers in Communication Occupations


Tudor Vlad and Lee B. Becker


Press freedom and public support of media rights are major components of a democratic society. In fact, it may well be the case that press freedom cannot exist unless there is basic public support for media rights.

Scholars have examined systematically support for press freedom in the United States and other countries since the early 1990s. They have found that support for media varies from one country to another, reflecting cultural differences, and also changes over time, reflecting social and political change in cultures. In addition, the research shows that the level of support especially for media rights varies within societies. In general, men have been found to be more likely to protect media rights than women. Age also was an important predictor of the attitude towards specific press freedom items: the eldest respondents were the least likely to offer protection to media rights.

Though the researchers have looked at demographic and other differences within the studied populations, they have not conducted research on important subpopulations, such as those who work in communication occupations or those preparing for such careers. Those seeking to enter communication occupations are particularly important, for they are likely to be in the vanguard of those seeking the protection of media rights.

Full copyrighted text available here.