Tag Archives: Mass communication theory

Revolutionary Press Theory

William Hachtens (1981) defined revolutionary press as a concept that is being propagated “in countries coping with revolutions against the existing government or foreign domination”. He suggests that the media in such countries appear to be in a transitional phase, divorced from normal state-media relationships”. [1]

Clement (1997) discusses “Revolutionary Press Theory on the foundation presented by Hachtens, as a concept of illegal and subversive communication utilizing the press and broadcasting to overthrow the existing government or to wrest control from alien or unwanted rulers. In other words, revolutionary press is the “press of the people” who believe strongly the government under which they live does not serve their interests and should be overthrown”. [2]

Hachtens also admitted that examples of this type of press are difficult to find and


Lenin in his work What is to be Done? (written in exile before the 1917 Revolution) proposed that the revolutionaries through the effective use of means of communication establish a nationwide, legal newspaper inside czarist Russia. Such a paper could obviously not advocate revolutionary goals, but its distribution could construct an efficient political machinery.

Lenin postulated that such a newspaper could:

-cover far-flung revolutionary organization
-mobilize the masses

Examples of vague nature can be identified in history. Like the underground press in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. The editors and journalists of this clandestine press literally risked their lives to convey the messages through papers and pamphlets. The history of anti-colonialist movements in the former third world is replete with such examples. Throughout the British empire, especially in West Africa, political dissidents published small newspapers often handwritten, that expressed grievances against the the British rulers, then encouraged nationalism, and finally advocated political independence.
Aspiring political leaders such as Azikiwe, Awolowo, Nkrumah, Kaunda and Kenyatta were all editors of these small political newspapers that informed and helped organize the budding political parties and nationalist movements. The British authorities were surprisingly tolerant, even though they disapproved of and sometimes acted against the publications and the editors.
Much in the Anglo-American political tradition supported these newspapers and the editors claimed the rights of British journalists.
In the post-independence years, radio broadcasting has become a valuable tool of revolutionary groups seeking to overthrow the fragile governments of developing nations. Anthony Sampson said that “the period of television and radio monopolies prove a passing phase, as we find ourselves in a much more open field of communications…” Personalized media with interactive capabilities are now playing revolutionary roles. They tend to challenge autocracies and despots around the globe. Dissident voices collaborate to challenge rulers that have been adamantly governing countries over decades.

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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Research Hub, Slide shows


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