Media Communications Research News

In a new article by Dr. Anthony Löwstedt values and norms for communication expressed in the ancient Egyptian treatise, The Teachings of Ptahhotep, are compared to current regulatory communication standards, especially the International Federation of Journalists’ Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists, and to liberal and socialist ideologies. The article has been accepted for publication by the International Communication Gazette, one of the world's leading communication journals.

Titled “Do We Still Adhere to the Norms of Ancient Egypt? A Comparison of Ptahhotep’s Communication Ethics with Current Regulatory Principles“, the article refers to continuity and near-consensus on Ptahhotep’s basic communication principles throughout much of the world’s religious and philosophical traditions, including the Abrahamic and Indian traditions and Ubuntu, Confucian, Taoist, Stoic, Kantian and Habermasian philosophies as well as reformist socialism and political liberalism. Ptahhotep’s teachings are less in tune, however, with revolutionary socialism and economic liberalism and contradict fascism as well as other prescriptive elitisms.

Ptahhotep argued in favour of basic equalities, especially the equal dignity of all humans, and of respect, commitment to truth, and the free flow of information and opinions, particularly for political speech, much like social democracy and political liberalism do. He also set limits regarding freedom of communication similarly: for hate speech, incitement to violence, defamation, invasion of privacy, and concentration of ownership. The close parallels between principles of communication ethics in ancient Egypt and today are partly explained by Dr. Löwstedt with a look at similarly restructuring powers of innovative phonographic media (writing) then and prographic (electronic programming) media now, and partly with (indirect) influence. The article also asks whether the concept of ‘Western civilization’ should continue to exclude ancient Egypt.

In his conclusions, Dr. Löwstedt considers global media self-regulation based on these values and writes: “Ptahhotep may deserve to again become a symbol for continuity of civilization, as a phenomenon opposed to the commonly perceived (and invoked) discontinuity or clash of civilizations.”