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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1739;

Freedom of Mass Communication in the Digital Age in the Case of the Internet: “Freedom House” and the USA Example

Legal Advisor and Lecturer of Faculty of Communication, Near East University, Nicosia 99138, Cyprus
Head of Radio and Television Department, Faculty of Communication, Near East University, Nicosia 99138, Cyprus
Dean of Faculty of Communication, Near East University, Nicosia 99138, Cyprus
The study is developed from the paper (Internet Freedom within the Framework of Democracy and Human Rights Education: “Freedom House?” and the USA Example) introduced at the 6th Educational Conference on Education (IC-ED 2017), in 16-18.08.2017 by Dolunay & Keçeci.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 20 September 2017 / Accepted: 24 September 2017 / Published: 7 October 2017
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Similar to various other disciplines, there have been significant changes and developments in the communication domain during the first quarter of the 21st century. The use of the Internet, which is considered as a vital communication tool in modern times, and often referred to as the “digital information communication era/digital era”, has become increasingly popular and has experienced significant development and change. Such change has led to a transformation in the concept of “new media” and has extended its scope to include the concept of social media; thus, the Internet has become an essential aspect of life due to its characteristics of facilitating information access and socialization. The “Internet” can be interpreted in different ways, including an important mass communication tool that serves the purposes of globalization (within McLuhan’s Global Village Theory); or an important tool in the simulation universe (within Bourdieu’s Simulation Universe Theory); or a new public sphere (within Habermas’s Public Sphere Theory). However, in addition to its benefits, the “harm” has also become an issue that is subject to analysis as much as the legal responsibility dimension of the concept. From this perspective, various countries around the world have started to use different practices in relation to the access and use of terms in political and legal aspects. In particular, “the Internet censorship” has become vital in the determination of limits, since crossing such lines could damage the fundamental principles of human rights and democracy. The American organization, Freedom House, which conducts regular studies to identify the status of relevant limitations as well Internet freedoms and publishes reports accordingly, is a leading supervisory body when it comes to “the freedoms” on a global scale. Based on the independence of analysis conducted in various countries by Freedom House on the practices of those countries from an international political and economic perspective based on political rights and human rights; at the specific level, this study assesses the analysis of Freedom House conducted on the USA in different periods within the framework of decisions made by American courts and statements from politicians. In general, this study aims to discuss the possibility of Freedom House maintaining its activities in an independent structure. This study has a multi-disciplinary nature, with communication science focusing on the concept of the Internet as a basic communication tool; with the jurisprudence due to the assessment of legal arrangements used for internet censorship, given by other geographical example, with a particular focus on the example of the USA and related court decisions; and political science due to the regulation of the subject and the preparation of related laws by the government and interpretation of the matter by politicians. Additionally, pursuant to the data collected in relation with all disciplines, the status of Internet freedom in the USA, which is indicated in the reports of Freedom House to be one of the countries with the most freedom, and objectivity analysis of Freedom House will be performed through the content analysis (legal analysis and comparative analysis) method. View Full-Text
Keywords: mass communication; internet freedom; censorship; freedom house; USA mass communication; internet freedom; censorship; freedom house; USA

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Dolunay, A.; Kasap, F.; Keçeci, G. Freedom of Mass Communication in the Digital Age in the Case of the Internet: “Freedom House” and the USA Example. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1739.

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