Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Press freedom leads to happiness, environmental quality

Date:
August 6, 2012
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have found that citizens of countries with press freedom tend to be much happier than citizens of countries without free presses.

Freedom of the press is viewed by many as a cornerstone of democracy. But can it actually help improve people's lives and make them happy? Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that citizens of countries with press freedom tend to be much happier than citizens of countries without free presses. Edson Tandoc, Jr., a doctoral student in the MU School of Journalism, says that press freedom directly predicts life satisfaction across the world.

"We already know that having reliable, objective news sources can benefit democracy, but in this study, we found that press freedom also benefits communities by helping improve the overall quality of life of citizens and, in the process, by also making them happier," Tandoc said. "People enjoy having an element of choice about where they get their news. Citizens of countries without a free press are forced to rely on the government for information, when what people really want is diversity in content where they are free to get the information they want from the source of their choosing."

Tandoc and his co-author, Bruno Takahashi from Michigan State University, analyzed data from 161 countries using a 2010 Gallup Poll evaluating happiness levels around the world. Tandoc and Takahashi compared those happiness levels with Freedom House's press freedom index which rates the level of each country's press freedom. They also examined human development statistics gathered by the United Nations as well as the Environmental Performance Index created by researchers at Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. Tandoc found that the more press freedom a country enjoyed, the higher the levels of life satisfaction, or happiness, of its citizens tended to be.

"The road to happiness isn't direct; it is a complex path or web that includes many different influences and interrelationships," Tandoc said. "Things like improving the economy alone are insufficient for increasing happiness. Protecting press freedom is also an important component of the happiness web."

Tandoc also found that countries with higher levels of press freedom enjoyed better environmental quality and higher levels of human development, both of which also contribute to life satisfaction. He credits this to the watchdog function of the press, which helps expose corruption of all levels in a community.

"A country with a free press is expected to be more open about what is wrong in their societies and with their environments," Tandoc said. "A free press is likely to report about poor human conditions and environmental degradation, bringing problems to the attention of decision-makers. It should not come as a surprise, therefore, that press freedom is positively related to both environmental quality and human development."

This study was published in the Social Indicators Research journal and presented at the International Communication Association 2012 conference in Phoenix.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Edson C. Tandoc, Bruno Takahashi. The Complex Road to Happiness: The Influence of Human Development, a Healthy Environment and a Free Press. Social Indicators Research, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s11205-012-0109-6

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Press freedom leads to happiness, environmental quality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120806131254.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2012, August 6). Press freedom leads to happiness, environmental quality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120806131254.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Press freedom leads to happiness, environmental quality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120806131254.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stroke in Young Adults

Stroke in Young Adults

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A stroke can happen at any time and affect anyone regardless of age. This mother chose to give her son independence and continue to live a normal life after he had a stroke at 18 years old. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Most people don’t realize that ADHD isn’t just for kids. It can affect the work as well as personal lives of many adults, and often times they don’t even know they have it. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Sight and Sounds of Autism

The Sight and Sounds of Autism

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new study is explaining why for some people with autism what they see and what they hear is out of sync. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) MIT researchers were able to change whether bad memories in mice made them anxious by flicking an emotional switch in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins