The free flow doctrine is associated with 1940s U.S. polices of international communication as promoted by William Benton, Assistant Secretary of State from 1945 to 1947. Benton was responsible for U.S. policy in the creation of United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and was on the Executive Board later. He lauded UNESCO’s promotion of the free flow of information across national boundaries that, he claimed, would improve the plight of poorer countries. At the heart of the controversy about the free flow doctrine is the question, whose freedom to do what? Benton’s proponents hailed free flow as a repudiation of the system of state-regulated media that they associated with the Soviet Union, then the world’s  second major superpower and Cold War nemesis of the United States. In contrast, critics called it a doctrine, a disparaging suggestion that for U.S. policy makers, it was an unquestioned article of faith that masked self-interest.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.654

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