Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Beth Knobel, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Christopher Toulouse, Ph.D.


The 21st century has been partly defined by the regression of liberal democracies paired with the rise of modern authoritarian regimes. This phenomenon is marked by a decrease in civil liberties and an erosion of democratic institutions and practices. A free and independent press is often one of the first institutions targeted by rising authoritarian leaders, due to its nature as a government watchdog. This thesis analyzes the state of press freedoms in different authoritarian and illiberal regimes. It aims to answer the question: what is the correlation between the type of government and the way the government treats the press, and why might this correlation exist? The case studies, Turkey, Egypt, and Hungary, represent the spectrum of regimes that fall under the umbrella of authoritarianism and will be used to exemplify the wide-ranging methods of restriction and manipulation that are being used against the press. These methods are employed through the judiciary and new legislation, economic manipulation, and intimidation of journalists. The research draws a line of correlation between these methods and the types of regimes that use them. It finds that the more authoritarian leaning a regime is, the more it is going to restrict its press, because of a lack of governmental checks and balances. This thesis will support further research in identifying the warning signs of an independent press at risk, and thus a democracy at risk.