Democracy is not perfect, and media free from state control is not enough, says a world-renowned Canadian authority on comparative journalism speaking at a Fiji conference.
Professor Robert Hackett from the School of Communications at Simon Fraser University says there is a gap between the ideal and the practice of Western democracy, and there is a distinction between “true” democracy and “liberalism”.
His address set the scene for the symposium, which examined the media’s role in developing countries, and the state of education and journalism in Fiji.
Professor Hackett described the model of “market liberalism” as the dominant form of democracy in the West, and said it was “tolerated as a tool for capitalism”.
He told the Media and Democracy symposium at the University of the South Pacific last week that the model theoretically brought democracy to all – “but in practice it benefits the wealthy”.