Media and Democracy
The role played by journalism and information is execution of duties that are related to social, economic, political, cultural and social aspects taking place in the modern democracy. Presently, media plays the role of conveying information to the public that is related to social, economic and political aspects affecting society. People, through journalism take part in political debates since it aids free democracy and citizenship in a community. The role of journalism and information in a democracy is creation of awareness among the people with a range of varying opinions and analysis. The media airs topics regarding significant events facilitating transparency of power that leads to diversity.
Information availed by the media plays the role of enhancing ethical, credible and deliberate decision on economic, political and social matters. Journalism also plays the crucial role of connecting opinions from makers of policy to get to the public. Media, interprets public concerns through conveying information into simple and plan language that society can understand. In relation to democracy, journals has the fundamental role of informing citizens thus helping them exercise their rights through contributing their ideas to issues of the government. In a democracy, in order to give successful information, it is important for free journalism to be practiced without any control by the government for purposes of achieving its interests in power (Almiron, 2010).
Democracy, however experiences threats when central communication means are owned by a couple of corporations controlling opinion and information. For example, in Mexico, government cronies took over the major TV stations in the county. Because of this, journalists only aired news favoring the leading party in the state. This proved a major threat to the public as it denied them access to the truth regarding decisions the government was making. Threat to democracy is evident when there is lack of free information flow as it hinders diversity and accountability among the public. What is more, issues regarding ownership, regulation and subsidy no longer are matters of public debate in the United States. For example, in broadcasting when airwaves that are publicly owned are licensed to private users, it interferes with democracy as the public is denied meaningful participation in the formation of policies (Dennis, 2008).
Corporate control, denying media freedom to air information as well as mild reforms are a major threat to democracy. This is attributed to the fact their interest is in news benefiting the advertising community. This implies corporations that are in control of information are able to facilitate disempowerment as well as immobilize threats to democracy. Such threats have the outcome of turning media users into consumers whenever few corporations are in control of information flow. Additionally, denying the public information also hinders democracy as it isolates people and makes them feel like there is no opportunity for experiencing social change.
At a certain point, commercial journalism varies with ideals of professional media in very specific ways. According to the ethics of media, journalists should act as the watchdogs that justify government actions and enhance liberal democracy. Conversely, commercial media airs programs to make profits and has numerous advertisements while professional journalism never air news for purposes of revenue generation. The media calls for reforms that showcase editorial reliability and continuance. The commercial state of the media incorporates a system supporting public broadcasting but they also accept grants from private corporations and bodies. However, on the basis of professional ideals, the media is supposed to be accountable through providing broadcasters with adequate institutional strength.
The media’s objective in society is that of exhibiting issues revolving around culture and supporting democracy. Its objective is provision of public service journalism which often clashes with commercial media which kills it. This has great impact on entertainment culture and airing vital programs which are educative. What is more, the commercial state of the media also reduced reliance on programs that are about political campaigns and they are replaced with adverts which are expensive. The public is affected by this in some way as they fail to know the actions and decisions made by the government since the information is not relayed to them. However, professional journalism is in support of deliberation and diversity which facilitates democracy in public sphere.
Corporate journalism growth causes harm to new products that are available currently to consumers. This is due to the fact it corrupts news with business mergers, interfering with editorial independence. As such, media liberalism is interrupted and this leads to major decline in public affairs and knowledge of news. The commercial state of media denies the public entertainment so as to fulfill their persona business interests. This is evidenced when the news content is reduced to expose issues of corporate agenda to the public. What is more, owners of the organizations are biased whenever they air values that are concerned with their organizations only. As such, news products are harmed especially when the journalists avoid engaging in research that is original and instead, settle to acquire news from services that are offered by Reuters.
Due to the aspect of corporate journalism, journalists have a preference for news products prepared by agencies rather than those in their individual reports. The organizations affect news companies and the manner in which they operate when converting media to companies interested in profit making. Corporations that are powerful have also became a major obstruction to mainstream media since they go to the point of owning media stations and outlets (Murphy, 2007). Because of this, news is harmed especially whenever the corporate cross markets its products to make large profits via the media. This leads to negative impact to the audience as it reduced depth of diversity and content. Corporate journalism also leads to increase in political and economic power of corporations and advertisers. It interferes with news through revealing information that is less vital to the population as such, killing democracy.
Consumers, currently cannot watch their favorite programs which are educative since advertising companies have the tendency of spending a lot in order to bring other information to convince the audience into buying their products. What is more, advertisers impose indirect and direct force on media companies by controlling their culture and content (Murphy, 2007). The media owners are controlled as they are offered large sums of money in order to ensure they survive the exchange of news in order to air their adverts.
According to McChesney, there are a couple of ways that address the crisis that affects corporate journalism. The first, which is most effective is regulation allowing commercial broadcasting for the interest of the public. Through regulations, media reformers become part of public airwaves ownership with help from Federal Communication Commission FCC. This helps address the issue when the corporate is granted the legal right of negotiating terms that can offer them broadcasting licenses. Regulations lead to reduction of crisis in corporate journalism by allowing the commercial broadcasters to operate on high levels in public service. The commercial media benefits from this and makes it possible for them to generate profits in an easy manner.
This is accomplished by resorting to crassest commercialism which facilitates balance within media culture. The regulations are also significant as they allow journalists the opportunity to control TV news and now corporate chiefs and advertisers. According to these regulations there is the need of organizing independent news, free programs for children and advertisement on commercial televisions. This makes corporate journalism to fall under control of journalists, artists and educators for purposes of effective operations. There is the need also for corporates to be subsidized by beneficiaries of communication that is commercialized (Dennis, 2008).
In order to settle concerns in corporate journalism, it is important to charge rent from commercial broadcaster on electromagnetic spectrum which will aid them to broadcast. Additionally, the regulations ban candidates from advertising political matters on TV and hinder destruction of integrity of electoral democracy. Corporate journalist should as well make the public understand commercial broadcasters serve both audience, advertisers and shareholders in order to aid them address their crisis.
The other strategy that is effective is avoiding crisis affecting corporate journalism is initiating public broadcasting. This is going to establish and maintain non-commercial radio and TV systems. The system is going to incorporate national network that allows the public to access news from independent community media stations. In order to stop corporate journalism challenges, public broadcasting is well commissioned and funded to cater for the whole population. In this respect, the key element is preventing the government from meddling in issues of the media by starting with pluralistic system. This involves local stations, community, national networks and public access statins that run independently. In order to stop the crisis at corporate, it is important for media owners to seek stable funding in order to avoid manipulation by agencies for commercial reasons.
Almiron, N. (2010). Journalism in crisis: corporate media and financialization. Cresskill, N.J.: Hampton Press.
Murphy, P (2007). Negotiating democracy media transformations. Washington University Press.
Dennis, E. (2008). Media & democracy. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers.