Gatekeeping is the process through which information in
publications, broadcasting, and the Internet is filtered for
Originally focused on the mass media with its few-to-masses
dynamic, theories of gatekeeping also now include the workings of
face-to-face communication and the many-to-many dynamic now
easily available via the Internet.
Gatekeeping was formally identified in Kurt Lewin’s
publication, Forces Behind Food Habits and Methods of Change
Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public
communication that may be considered
objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined
by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.
Kurt Zadek Lewin
Kurt Zadek Lewin (1890-1947), was born in German.
He was a great Psychologist and pioneer in Social Psychology.
He developed the concept in the field of psychology called
psychological “field” and “life space” in order to understand the
human behavior and its important consideration of total life space.
His studies are more based on to understand a person’s own world,
physical, mental and social through frequent conversation between
his pre-memories, desire and his goals.
And also his works help to understand the relationship between
attitudes and behavior in the group or individuals.
Kurt Lewin coins the word called “Gate
It’s nothing but to block unwanted or useless
things by using a gate. Here the person who
make a decision is called “Gatekeeper”.
At first it is widely used in the field of
psychology and later it occupies the field of
Now it’s one of the essential theories in
The Gatekeeper decides what information should move to group or
individual and what information should not.
Here, the gatekeeper are the decision makers who letting the whole
The gatekeeper is having its own influence like social, cultural, ethical
and political. Based on personal or social influences they let the
information to the group.
Through this process the unwanted, sensible and controversial
information’s are removed by the gate keeper which helps to control
the society or a group and letting them in a right path.
In home mother plays the vital role and she has to decide what their
kid’s needs and what should avoid.
In news medium editor play vital role.
He has to decide what kind of news items will publish and what
Every day the news channel receives various news items from all
over the world.
The channel have its own ethics and policies through this the
editor decide the news items for publish or aired.
In some cases few news items are rejected by the editor due the
organizations policy or the news items which are not suitable for
An international news channel receives numbers of news items within
day like international terror issues, UN discussions, Texas bull fighting
and religious abuse on international community.
A news channel can’t show all those news items to audience because it
may affect the channel reputation in public and organizations policy.
Here, editor decides the news items especially he can’t show the
Texas bull fighting because it is not internationally popular story.
But the same time the news channel can’t show the religious abuses
also because it may hurt audience directly and it may affect
organizations policy also.
But international terror issues and UN discussions are universal
common news that won’t affect the channel reputation in public and
Lewin's gatekeeping model demonstrates that:
-Food reaches the table through channels e.g. grocery store.
-Some food items may be selected or not.
-Sections: multiple decision points
(Should the food be purchased or not?).
-Gate: the entrance to each channel or section of a channel.
-Movement from one channel to the next is determined by the
-Positive and negative forces surround the gate.
Levels of Media Gatekeeping
1. Individuals – Decisions are personal.
2. Routine Practices of Communication Work – Decisions are made
according to a pre-established and generalized set of practices.
3. Communication Organizations – Exists within an environment of
social institutions that affect the gatekeeping process.
4. Social Institutions – Events vary to a degree that they are
culturally available as news items.
5. Societies – Culture, indicators of social significance, including
political, influences selection decisions affecting the extent to
which different parts of the world are covered and how they are
Influences of the Gatekeeping Process
Individual - The journalist alone selects how the information gets
sorted. No other external help on the matter.
Routine - Commonly seen in more prominent news media, this is
commonly seen with tied with agenda-setting due to a recurrent
theme being portrayed in all news.
Organizational - Similar to routine, but process is molded according to
the organization's views and opinions.
Extra-Media - Sponsors, contributors, and other external forces that
can have any influence in determining how the information gets
Ideological - “Ideological analysis involves assumptions about power
and how it is distributed in society”