04新闻媒体

我们需要不受审查的、多元的、值得信赖的媒体,这样才能掌握全面的信息,做出判断,进而充分地参与政治生活。

言论自由与良好政治

公元前四世纪的中国史书《国语》曾记载召公向周厉王的进谏:“防民之口,甚于防川。” 在《论语•宪问篇》里,孔子也作过这样的劝告:“勿欺也,而犯之。” 中世纪俄罗斯的自治共和国诺夫戈罗德曾经有一个执政委员会叫veche,这个词来自于斯拉夫语里“言论”的词根。“国会”(parliament)一词则是从法语里的parler而来,是“说话”的意思。良好的政治有赖于自由和大胆的言论,这种想法在很多文明史和国家的历史里都存在过。

然而,是希腊雅典城邦的公民2500年前第一次革命性地把言论自由和人民自治联系在了一起。他们将其称之为“民主”,希腊语中意为“民治政府” (demos = 人民 + kratos = 管治)。他们通常会选择在“公共集会的地方”来实践这种新的政体。传令官会问:“有谁想向公众致辞?” 此时每个自由的公民都可以站起来讲出他的想法,并对公共政策提出建议。雅典城邦3万自由民中大约有8千人会参加这样的集会

没错,在当时只有自由民才可以参加这样的聚会。女人和非自由民要等到几千年之后才拥有这一权力。雅典人还发明了两个十分重要的概念:“parrhesia”和“isegoria”。“Parrhesia”由“畅所欲言”(pan-rhesia)引申而來,意思是人们应该自由并无所畏惧地讲出所有他们认为正确的话。“Isegoria”的意思是人人都应该有平等发言和被聆听的权力。现在这两个概念已经扩展到所有人,无论男人还是女人,并且是我们这个时代言论自由的核心价值。

什么是媒体?

在一些地方人们可以自由地跟邻里、村庄、学校或大学集会里的其他人直接交流。不过大部分社区都太过庞大,没有办法让所有人聚集在一起聆听发言、投票表决。国家就更不用说了。因此我们有赖媒体作为一种中介,作为一种通讯渠道。

在古腾堡(Johannes Gutenberg)发明活字印刷机近四个世纪后,“媒体”一词还一直是特指书面印刷的文字和图片,包括图书、报纸和小册子。1791年的美国宪法第一修正案向谷腾堡的发明做了特别致敬,宪法规定:“国会不得制定任何法律……限制言论或文字媒体的自由。” 广播和电视到20世纪才有了更多的受众。而那些借助媒体写作、播音并以此为业的就是记者了。

今天只要能上网或者使用手机就可以发布文字、图像、信息或想法。从这个意义上说,我们全都可以成为记者和出版人。近年中国土耳其的地震消息往往是匿名的微博和社交网络用户首先发布的。乔治·波尔卡新闻奖(George Polk Award)这个最具公信力的新闻奖项之一就曾颁给一个无名氏所拍的持续四十秒的影片,影片记录了伊朗示威者妮达·艾嘉·索尔坦(Neda Agha Soltan)被杀的情景。颁奖给这段影片便是向无名的公民记者致敬。

我们大部分人都可以从这些媒体制作的新闻中获取更多的信息。30年前,绝大部分发展中国家的人民都只能从一张日报或者几个电台、电视台那里获取新闻(或观点)。现在只要有不受屏蔽的网络并且点一下鼠标就可以看到数以千计的消息来源、刊物和频道,例如Livestation(英文、阿拉伯文), Current TV(英文),、LiveJournalTvTube(各种语言)。

你可选择的媒体够多元吗?

媒体有很多种,因此我们听到的声音也是多元的,这为我们提供了前所未有的机会,使最广泛意义上的政治自由表达成为可能。然而我们距离实现这种可能仍还很远。因为在实际操作中,这个世界上大部分的人还都只能从有限的媒体中获得信息和接受影响。每个国家都是只有几家电视台扮演关键的角色。私人和公共力量决定并限制了我们接收什么,发出什么,比如政府、电信公司、伊朗的阿亚图拉(Ayatollahs)教士、意大利的西尔维奥·贝卢斯科尼(Silvio Berlusconi)),又或者是英国的鲁伯特·默多克(Rupert Murdoch)。

况且,我们还没提到那些屏蔽、威吓、监禁甚至杀戮记者(包括公民记者)的地方呢。这些记者只是为了“实事求是”(正如中国成语所言)地向当权者诉说真相。

欧洲的一些研究者开发了一个有用的工具,用来评估你所在国家的媒体有多开放和多元。这些研究者订立了多达六条关于“媒体多元性”的评价范围。例如,媒体的拥有和控制者是否多元?该国的电视台、文字媒体和互联网是否被政府或几个传媒大亨和集团垄断?比如墨西哥的全国性电视台就只由TelevisaAzteca两家公司操纵。所有民族、宗教和语言群体是否都得到了充分的代表(在各国这个问题的答案几乎都是否定的)?试想一下,为什么只考虑你自己所在国的那些群体呢?我们生活在同一个星球上,其他地方的新闻和意见不也同样与我们息息相关吗?

另外就是至关重要的政治多元化。媒体是否被一个党派、势力或者利益集团所主导?电台和报纸是否都偏向一种声音?这种偏向性是不是因为只有主要的政治势力才能有自己的电视、广播、报纸和网站?鲁伯特·默多克控股的美国福克斯新闻频道以“公平和平衡”为信条,然而实际情况则截然相反。如果其他持相反观点的频道同样不公平,不平衡是不是就能解决这个问题?

还是说我们应该尽量做到所谓的“立场中立”?这并不是指在日常事务中无法企及的科学、客观,而是指应该努力做到:(1)区分评论与事实,并将新闻事实的报道和观点表达剥离开;(2)无论是电视、报刊还是网站在报道时,都能、应该公平地列举出社会中对所报道话题的各种不同意见。

监管与自我监管

即便是成熟的自由民主社会对这个问题也有不同的处理方式。其不同点在于哪些部分由政府、法院或其他公权机构监管,哪些部分由市场和社会决定。英国至今都放任文字媒体进行自我监管,但同时通过通讯传播办公室(Ofcom)对广播和电视进行监管。多年从事这项工作的一位官员曾说:“我每次访美时都会注意到,如果和Ofcom权责对应的联邦通讯委员会(Federal Communications Commission)试图强制要求媒体保持立场中立,肯定会因践踏言论自由被告上法庭。在英国是法定的事情到了美国就变成非法了。”

在印度,自我监管对毫无约束、乱象丛生的媒体有没有用是当下一个热点问题。印度新闻办公室主任就认为印度媒体是“反人民”的。而《印度报》的总编N Ram也认为“需要某种监管机构,自我监管完全没有用。”

不同国家处理方式不同,不同时期处理方式也不一样,并没有一个普适“正确”的方式。重要的是结果:应有开放、多元的媒体。这也是为什么我们需要时刻监督媒体,让它们做到开放、多元、有代表性、准确、有深度且敢于报道。

我们如今都可以做记者了

如今我们不用局限于督促媒体更加开放、多元,我们自己就可以成为记者。这也是为什么这条原则说的是“需要营造”。买不到想看的杂志,你自己就可以办一份。不少网络乌托邦式的涂鸦都是出于这种需求。然而大多数博客、微博和其他网络写手都不过是巴别塔阴暗角落里的孤独之声。他们绝大多数都没什么受众,只有少数写手拥有大量受众。

不过还是有很多在互联网时代才得以成功的传播个案,比如完全由公民记者采写的韩国OhmyNews,由Wael Ghonim建立;最终引发埃及民众示威并推翻穆巴拉克政权的Facebook页面“我们都是Haled Said”。美国的“德拉吉报道”(drudge report);中国的韩寒以及揭露高层腐败的俄罗斯博客作家Alexi Navalny等。请在这里添加您了解的个例,并附上提名他们的理由。

防范过滤泡泡和群体性思维

在营造开放、多元的媒体时必须注意的另一个问题是,有证据显示互联网往往会强化对真实情况的扭曲和错误观点。在网上,你会发现至今仍有至少937位网民相信切•格瓦拉依然健在,或者认为吃红波奶酪会致癌。这种网络群体性思维的恶性循环会把这些网民封闭在一个信息茧里,不断强化各自错误甚至是危险的世界观。

不少人认为由于提供个性化服务和准确网络广告投放的需求越来越大,搜索引擎、网页和手机应用正日趋个性化和定制化,而这正加剧了群体性思维的趋势。如果我们都只生活在自己那个小小的“过滤泡泡”里,那就没有任何公共空间了。这不但无助于我们构建一个全球化的“集会场所”来交流信息和观点,还会把我们限制在自己营造的移动小隔间里,只能呼吸来自同类的气息。

危险固然存在,不过也无须绝望。我们并不是在所向披靡的“媒体”或者“互联网”面前被原子化的被动个体。我们可以教育自己和下一代了解媒体和互联网,从而能在上述的情况下保持清醒。支持网上刊物,新闻聚合器和资源类网站,可以帮助我们了解各种不同观点并缓解上述不良影响。FactCheck.org这样的资源则可以区分事实与仿真叙述。我们可以一起努力让维基百科成为更好的资源网站。

做到上述这些,我们就会有前所未有的机会在这个后古腾堡的时代里营造开放、多元的媒体。


评论 (16)

读者须知:自动翻译由Google翻译提供,虽然可以反映作者大意,但不一定能提供精准的译意。

  1. Dick,

    You claim that “it is not … permitted to criticise Muslim immigration and Islam”. You “demand that anyone who wants to say that [Islam is incompatible with Western democracy] be able to do so, and feel no compulsion to be silent”. You “think people should be entitled to say what they believe about Islam”. I don’t understand what you mean.

    Who is stopping you from speaking your mind? Your views are right here, out in the open.

    Views very much like yours are all over the mainstream media. They are also being articulated by influential and widely-read bloggers. Just look here [http://bit.ly/VthfKR], here [http://bit.ly/18ocQxU], here[http://bit.ly/18m1J8u], here[http://bit.ly/10UkffD], here[http://bit.ly/124TpZH], here[http://bit.ly/16dH6f1], or here[http://dailym.ai/132KhBn] – all circulating widely just in the last few days.

    How can you say that people are prevented from reading and writing such things when they and you are saying and writing them every day? Do you feel that what is being published does not go far enough? If that’s the case, look at the comment threads (if you can read German, you will particularly like this [http://bit.ly/NQftA5]), or Twitter, or Reddit, or Youtube. Legions of users post violently anti-Muslim statements there, which get likes and upvotes. Sometimes one or two people are arrested and later released without consequences if they are deemed to incite hatred or violence, for which they have to go much further than you do in your post; the cases your link referred to involved direct threats. Why should those be legal?

    Views similar to yours are also represented by politicians in the UK [http://bit.ly/1aizioB], the Netherlands [http://bit.ly/10HcmLs], Germany [http://bit.ly/16yAkzd], France [http://bit.ly/112jXn0], Austria [http://bit.ly/188rzwM] & Switzerland [http://bit.ly/16oRl07] & Italy [http://on.ft.com/13YvwRh] (where these parties were or are in government), Denmark [http://bit.ly/10zF4kN], the US [http://bit.ly/19lJcrS] and, I believe, your own country, Finland.

    Many political parties cater to the “I’m not racist but…” and “We can’t even say/do what we want anymore” crowds; they have plenty of politicians who warn that “sharia law” will be imposed on their countries if they do not protect western liberal democracy against ‘Islam’, including by deporting fellow citizens they disagree with. And gain, if the likes of Farage and Le Pen do not go far enough for your taste, there are even more radical parties in most of these countries, who in some cases receive state funding and in all cases enjoy the same police protection as everyone else when they want to voice their opinions.

    You seem to think your views are being censored by the police, political correctness and/or a liberal bias in the news media. I just don’t see any evidence that that’s the case. There is absolutely no shortage of anti-Muslim sentiment in our public discourse. On the contrary, people espousing such sentiments have been allowed to inject their poison into the veins of most western body politics, clouding the judgement of policy-makers and an often ill-informed public, so that bearded men and veiled women and conservative Muslims are now widely perceived as ‘Islamists’, ‘radicals’ and/or ‘oppressed women’, and many in the west have been convinced that ‘sharia law’ is the devil incarnate, and ‘jihad’ some global plot hatched in the 7th century to kill all infidels. (Evidence here [http://bit.ly/ZdZQpa] and here [http://bit.ly/ZsVNI6].)

    So why do you say that people like you are being silenced when you clearly have a platform in the media, on the internet, on the street and in politics? It must be because, beyond the crowd in your own echo-chamber, you have no audience. Despite everything, not many people agree with views as extreme as yours, even though more and more agree with a diluted version of your views because of the platform given to anti-Muslim rhetoric in the media and online. 

    What’s more, most people probably dislike you rather instinctively. Starting a post with I’m-not-racist-but doesn’t help; nor does calling 2 billion people “naive”, or 12 million fellow citizens “enemies in our midst”. Maybe a bit of civility would do the trick, Dick? You may think you are being censored, but in reality you are just being ostracised by the majority who disagree with your weak arguments and/or your vicious rhetoric.

    All your claims rest on the assumption that you can extrapolate from the ‘Islam’ of criminals like Michael Adebolajo and Anjem Choudary to the faith(s) of billions of people living all over the world and throughout history. You assume that what hate preachers say and governments do under the banner of religion is the one and only interpretation of a kaleidoscopic and fluent faith and centuries of practice, law and scripture. Yet you only apply this twisted reasoning to Islam.

    If you applied your logic to Christianity, you would have to conclude that ‘Christians’ (i.e. everyone from 21st-century Quakers to 12th-century crusaders and Jesus himself) are and always were like Anders Breivik and Terry Jones; that they are and were and will always be evil because some (democratic!) majority-Christian countries have barbarous criminal justice systems (including the death penalty, extrajudicial assassinations and torture); that Christianity is inherently racist and homophobic and misogynistic because it was and is used by many of its followers to justify slavery and resist movements for equality to this day; and that many Christians want to remove the liberal democracy that is incompatible with their faith, and replace it with Biblical law.

    Those who really care about their faith, in my personal experience, care about all of it, especially the bits that ask them to do what they don’t want to do. Those who abuse religion to justify their crimes always seem to care about nothing but “an eye for an eye” and the randomly picked and decontextualised quotes that give them an excuse for what they want to do for reasons unrelated to religion. So what’s the point of lumping them all together and condemning the many for the actions of the few? Condemning all members of an arbitrarily and loosely defined group for the actions of some of its ‘members’ is either nonsensical or bigotted. But if you are going to engage in such generalisations, you will have to at least hold everyone to the same absurd standard, or people will put labels on you that you do not seem to want to carry. You can’t insist on your right to call something you think is a spade a spade but deny others the right to do the same.

  2. I agree with ‘we speak openly about all kinds of human difference’, but the problem comes with defining ‘with civility’, because that is the point where certain groups will want to take offence at certain inconvenient truths, for instance that Islam is not a religion of peace and brotherly love.

  3. I am against racism, and I have nothing against any religion other than Islam. I think people should be entitled to say what they believe about Islam and the very real actions caused by Islam. Many people have had enough of the politically correct discourse that Islam is a religion of peace, etc etc, but are afraid to say so because they would immediately be labelled Islamophobes. Due to our tolerance, the non-Muslim inhabitants of Western countries are allowing ourselves to be steamrollered by Muslims and their increasingly intrusive demands – sharia law, changes in our foreign policy, etc. It seems to me that they are enemies in our midst and not loyal citizens. Islam is simply incompatible with Western democracy, and I demand that anyone who wants to say that be able to do so, and feel no compulsion to be silent about this most pressing of issues.

  4. Some discussions about human difference cannot be civilly discussed; for example, racism should never be allowed.

  5. My opinion is that such kind of speech and expression of thoughts, jokes, etc. connected with immutable characteristics of people, shouldn’t be limited by law and society: it should be up to every person, what should he/she say and what shouldn’t. Up to his/her mind and conscience. Until it harms person.

  6. Freie Meinungsäußerung ist wichtig, solange der Redner dabei nicht die Recht e anderer Menschen beschneidet oder andere Lebewesen diskriminiert.

  7. A very interesting and controversial article posted by Janet Haney – Kenen Malik on multiculturalism. He suggests that we can either pledge equality of cultures or equality of people, but not both. Thanks Janet 🙂 !
    http://www.kenanmalik.com/lectures/multiculturalism_if.html

    • *Kenan thus represents the Enlightened universalist extreme. Maybe we can use this as an angle here for future comments.

  8. I disagree with most of the statements made in this article for one reason. All of the arguments made above are valid and work only if one assumes that a human is a rational and educated creature who will inform him or herself before making a decision or forming an opinion. That however is not true, and sadly enough many of us all fall under pressure by our envirnment and propaganda. These so called insults which one directs towards others under the excuse of freedom of speech are messages of hate. They in themselves want to hurt others and limit the freedom, human rights and the freedom of expression of a particular group. Therefore limiting the “freedom” in the “freedom of speech” is ironically an important part of achieving a more tolerant and civil society.
    Moreover, I completely disagree with the comment made about the Indian Penal Code. The history of the law is completely irrelevant. True, it might have been originally written for a different purpose but it doesn’t mean that it always has to be used just for that same purpose. If freedom of expression was once used as an excuse to limit the rights of colonized citizens, it does not mean that it now should be abolished because of its dirty history. In fact, as the author has stated it himself, there is huge room for interpretation in the issue of free speech, therefore this same law can be used in more noble ways.

  9. As a general principle I definitely agree that free speech should be a universal right. Contentwise, however, there should be restrictions.
    Considering the fact that communication occurs between two subjects, the sender and the recipient, both subject’s values matter in the process. The tricky part in the proposed principle therefore is ‘civility’.
    Civility itself restricts free speech. I think most people agree that the publication of the Muhammad cartoons were not an act of particular civility, because it offended the religious / moral values of the recipient group.
    How can we thus find the balance between the universal right to free speech and non-universal values of sender / recipients?

    • Hello Annemarie. I saw the Danish Cartoons for the first time this week. They were not shown in UK when the furore first broke out, and I didn’t think about them much again until recently (it was the DV8 dance event – Can We Talk About This? – that brought them back to mind, something I saw in London a few weeks ago). I would be disappointed if ‘most people’ agree that their publication was ‘not an act of particular civility’. But I would not be surprised that people had been frightened into saying such a thing after the alarming response of the murderous threats at the time. Remember – the cartoonist was threatened with a violent death: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/04/danish-cartoonist-axe-attack

      • Hi Janet, apologies for my late response. I hadn’t seen on my account that you commented on my post.
        I just had an argument with a girl studying Human Rights at LSE. In summary, she clearly argued that if she was a cartoonist, she would never (!) publish something which would so obviously assault a certain group. Would you do so? Why do you think that this case was not ‘not an act of particular civility’?

  10. Excellent piece! I agree with almost all of the points made here.

    My only worry associated with this proposed “civil” and courteous free speech is the remarkable ability of the same spoken language to be simultaneously civil and uncivil to different audiences. Accounting for a gradient of such differences in perception, I wonder if the final test of civility in tricky situations will indeed be the lack of violence/ violent overtures. And if that is the case, it may as well be codified as such in law!

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“言论自由大讨论”是牛津大学圣安东尼学院达伦多夫自由研究计划下属的学术项目。

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