Paying their way: dissident opinion, advertising and access to the public sphere

John Hadley

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    There is a long-standing view, traceable to John Stuart Mill, that serious consideration of dissident opinions promotes individual well-being and good public policy. Mill argued that individuals need to engage with radical or nonmainstream views in order to obtain intellectual courage and reach the highest levels of intellectual development. He also said that the development of good public policy can only emerge from the debate between dissident views and 'received opinion'. If Mill is right about the importance of such views, then we need to find ways to improve the coverage given to dissident opinion in the mass media. The current tendency to sensationalize, distort, ridicule, ignore or censor extreme views does little to engender serious consideration of them. A more constructive suggestion is that media ethics codes and workplace norms could be made more sensitive to the utility promoting potential of radical social and political views by reflecting an ethical distinction between different kinds of commercial speech.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Number of pages18
    JournalAustralian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics
    Issue number1 / 2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2008


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