Ethical Boundaries of Media Coverage



Some think that democracy should tolerate all forms and types of speech, for liberals must not play the anti-liberal game. Those who make this sweeping claim argue that liberal democracies are different from other forms of government precisely because they do not use non-liberal tools.2 I find this claim naive and dangerous. Democracy should set rules for speech as well as for action. Those who choose to break and to undermine the basic democratic rules should not be surprised if, in the name of democratic self-defence, the legislature might decide to disqualify them from participation in the democratic process. I reiterate the importance of acknowledging the democratic ‘catch’ and the need for setting limits to the democratic principles.


Medium Ethic Medium Coverage Liberal Democracy Public Figure Night Club 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anthony Skillen, ‘Freedom of Speech’, in Keith Graham (ed.), Contemporary Political Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), pp. 139–59.Google Scholar
  2. Ronald M. Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously (London: Duckworth, 1977). R. Cohen-Almagor, The Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance (Gainesville, FL: The University Press of Florida, 1994).Google Scholar
  3. R. Cohen-Almagor, ‘Combating Right-Wing Political Extremism in Israel: Critical Appraisal’, Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 9, No. 4 (1997), pp. 82–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. James Bryce, Modern Democracies (London: Macmillan, 1921), Vol. I, p. 4.Google Scholar
  5. Deni Elliott, ‘Universal Values and Moral Development Theories’, in Clifford Christians and Michael Traber (eds), Communication Ethics and Universal Values (Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage, 1997), pp. 68–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Earl Winkler, ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Moral Principle: Moral Philosophy and Journalistic Ethics’, in Valerie Alia, Brian Brenan and Barry Hoffmaster (eds), Deadlines and Diversity (Halifax: Fernwood, 1996), pp. 12–20.Google Scholar
  7. R. Cohen-Almagor, ‘Why Tolerate? Reflections on the Millian Truth Principle’, Philosophia, Vol. 25, Nos. 1–4 (1997), pp. 131–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Howard Kurtz, ‘Why the Press Is Always Right’, Columbia Journalism Review, Vol. 32 (May–June 1993), pp. 33–5, at 34.Google Scholar
  9. Stephen D. Reese, ‘The News Paradigm and the Ideology of Objectivity: A Socialist at the Wall Street Journal’, Critical Studies in Mass Communication, Vol. 7 (1990), pp. 390–409, at 390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gary Sick, ‘Taking Vows: The Domestication of Policy-Making in Hostage Incidents’, in Walter Reich (ed.), Origins of Terrorism (New York: Woodrow Wilson Center and Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 230–44, at 242.Google Scholar
  11. Alicia C. Shepard, ‘Legislating Ethics’, American Journalism Review, Vol. 16 ( January–February 1994), pp. 37–41.Google Scholar
  12. Clifford Christians, ‘Self-Regulation: A Critical Role for Codes of Ethics’, in Everette E. Dennis, Donald M. Gillmor and Theodore L. Glasser (eds), Media Freedom and Accountability (New York: Greenwood Press, 1989), pp. 35–53.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Raphael Cohen-Almagor 2001

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations