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  • Author or Editor: Glenn W. Muschert x
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Media freedom is primarily the freedom of diverse forms of media and sources of communication. Traditionally, freedom of the press is conceptualized as the freedom to publish; however, the notion of media freedom is much broader as it encompasses the freedom both to publish and to broadcast, emphasizing the idea that media in information societies consist of more than print sources (e.g. newspapers and magazines) and incorporates electronic sources of communication as well, such as radio, television, and the Internet. Hence, freedom of the media is indispensable for democratic societies given that the media are an outlet for public discussion and opinion and basically operate to seek the truth, educate the public, and serve as a watchdog over government.

Threats to journalists and attacks on media freedom undermine the proper functioning of the United States as a democratic society, as the ability of journalists to investigate and report on controversial topics becomes threatened by the government and pressure groups such as criminal gangs, terrorists, and corporate giants. In the U.S., as elsewhere, freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and a precondition for many other democratic rights. According to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Restrictions on freedom of expression can be direct (such as stringent laws) and indirect (such as censorship pressure from the government and military), and vary relative to social contexts.

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Solutions for 2020

The Agenda for Social Justice: Solutions for 2020 provides accessible insights into some of the most pressing social problems in the United States and proposes public policy responses to those problems.

Written by a highly respected team of authors brought together by the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), it offers recommendations for action by elected officials, policy makers, and the public around key issues for social justice, including a discussion of the role of key issues of sustainability and technology in the development and timbre of future social problems. It will be of interest to scholars, practitioners, advocates, and students interested in public sociology and the study of social problems.

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Global Perspectives

The COVID-19 pandemic is having far-reaching political and social consequences across the globe. Published in collaboration with the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), this book addresses the greatest social challenges facing the world as a result of the pandemic.

The authors propose public policy solutions to help refugees, migrant workers, victims of human trafficking, indigenous populations and the invisible poor of the Global South.

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Welcome to the second, global-focused volume of Social Problems in the Age of COVID-19, a rapid-response project in public sociology intended to provide a broad audience with rigorous scholarly insight on social problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. All involved in this project have been compelled by the objective to provide timely and high-quality scholarly insight on the effects of COVID-19 on social problems, which can be of use to scholars, students, activists, policymakers, journalists, and the interested public. The editors and authors expect these chapters will be of use to readers for making sense of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and its after-effects, just as they will inform policy decisions and engagement in social action.

The volume fits within the scholarly rubric of public sociology, and the editors are members of the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ (SSSP) Justice 21 Committee (J-21), whose creation was inspired by the 2000 Presidential Address of Professor Robert Perrucci, 48th President of the SSSP and founding member of J-21 (Perrucci, 2001). In his address, Dr Perrucci reminded SSSP members that much scholarship in the social problems field had become esoteric and abstract, thereby diminishing its utility as a resource for mitigating or solving the very problems which are its focus of study. Dr Perrucci’s reminder was that the SSSP and the journal Social Problems were established within a model of scholarship that saw research and publication as integrated with social action to address pressing social problems. Since its establishment, the J-21 group has published a series of volumes titled Agenda for Social Justice (US-focused) and Global Agenda for Social Justice (globally focused).

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