24th November 2005




Even before religious extremists began insisting on unfettered free speech as a fundamental right, the public – faced with a daily diet of media permissiveness –

were becoming increasingly doubtful about it.


Yet in his new book Professor Brian Winston, a Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln, argues that without free expression under the law the rest of the West’s fundamental rights are in danger.


In ‘Messages: Free Expression, Media and the West from Gutenberg to Google’  published this week by Routledge Professor Winston highlights the development of media freedoms over the last half-millennium.


He explains that we have never had a right of unfettered free speech or even a right that automatically applies to all media. What the press struggled to achieve was denied to the stage and is still denied to broadcasters.


‘Messages’ makes an argument for a level playing field for free expression – but not one on which speech is without legal restrictions.


‘Messages’ is also about tracing the roots of our media in the histories of the press, the stage, photography, cinema, broadcasting and new media. Questions great and small are answered: why are papers in the English-speaking world so much more raucous than in Continental Europe? When were theatre tickets introduced? Who was the first modern celebrity? Who invented the interview? When were seats in the stalls fixed to the floor? Is the move to digital of any cultural significance whatever?


With a wealth of anecdotes and quotations, ‘Messages’ offers an accessible and jargon-free history of the media of exceptional and illuminating scope.


Brian Winston has worked as a broadcaster, film producer and journalist as well as an academic on both sides of the Atlantic and has an Emmy for documentary script writing.


To arrange an interview with Brian Winston contact:

Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

01522 886042                         jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk


To receive a copy of Messages contact:

Amna Whiston, amna.whiston@tandf.co.uk 020 7017 6179 or

Kylie Matthews, kylie.matthews@tandf.co.uk, 020 7017 6058