What Is Social Responsibility Theory in Mass Communication?


Jane Flores

Social Responsibility Theory in Mass Communication

Mass communication is the process of transmitting information to a large number of people through various channels. The media has a significant role to play in mass communication, and with great power comes great responsibility. One such responsibility is social responsibility, which refers to the ethical and moral obligations that media professionals have towards the society they serve.

The Origins of Social Responsibility Theory

The social responsibility theory was first introduced in 1947 by the Hutchins Commission on Freedom of the Press. The commission was formed after World War II and was tasked with evaluating the role of the press in a democratic society. They concluded that there should be a balance between freedom and responsibility in journalism.

The Principles of Social Responsibility Theory

Social responsibility theory has several key principles that guide media professionals:

  • Truthfulness and Accuracy: Media professionals must strive to report accurate and truthful information to their audiences. They must fact-check their sources and present information without bias.
  • Objectivity: Media professionals must remain neutral when reporting on controversial issues. They must present different perspectives and allow their audience to form their own opinions.
  • Fairness: Media professionals must treat all individuals fairly, regardless of race, gender, religion, or political affiliation.
  • Public Interest: Media professionals must prioritize the public interest over individual interests or corporate profits.
  • Social Justice: Media professionals have a duty to promote social justice by giving voice to underrepresented communities and exposing injustices.

The Importance of Social Responsibility Theory

Social responsibility theory is essential because it ensures that media professionals act in the best interest of their audience and society as a whole. It promotes accountability and transparency, which helps to build trust between the media and its audience. Without social responsibility, the media could potentially manipulate public opinion or spread false information.


Overall, social responsibility theory is a critical component of mass communication. It ensures that media professionals act ethically by prioritizing truthfulness, objectivity, fairness, public interest, and social justice. By upholding these principles, media professionals can earn the trust and respect of their audiences while contributing to a more informed and democratic society.