Institutionalizing Freedom of the Press. a Comparative Analysis on the Structural Conditions for the Freedom of the Press in Constitutions

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:18
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Thomas LAUX, University of Chemnitz, Germany
The study analyses the structural conditions for the spread and the institutionalization of freedom of the press in the constitution of nation states. Freedom of the press as a basic right was institutionalized by the United Nations on a global scale by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1976. Between 1980 and 2009 the freedom of the press in law was institutionalized and thus can be found in 58 of 68 (85.3 %) newly adopted constitutions. This is surprising, because freedom of the press in action was and is violated by a high proportion of these states.

The analysis refers mostly to world-polity theory by John W. Meyer et al.. According to its assumptions, institutional isomorphism spreads globally because of the dominance of world-polity and its standards, e.g. human or political rights. Especially International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) are major driving forces for the global diffusion of human rights. The empirical analysis applies world-polity theory on the institutionalization of freedom of the press in law. It focuses on the influence of IGOs and INGOs as well as on structural conditions of the states, like the political system, the legal system or the level of wealth.

The analysis is conducted by conducting a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) (Charles C. Ragin). Based on set theoretic assumptions, it allows differentiating between necessary and sufficient conditions for the institutionalization of freedom of the press. It is also a diversity- oriented method, which captures different and divergent pathways for institutionalizing freedom of the press.  

The aim of the study is to identify different structural conditions and their interplay for institutionalizing freedom of the press in law. The results may enrich world-polity theory in general and further explore the phenomenon of institutional decoupling.