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The Importance of Press in a Democracy - Essay Example

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The Importance of Press in a Democracy Living in a democracy gives people a certain understanding of what they should expect. In a democracy, we expect to be free of bondage; we attempt to see the rights of all people regardless of who they are or what they stand for…
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Download file to see previous pages However, we may only have one side of the information if we only look at one news program or if we only depend on local information. The Role of the Media in a Democracy According to the Center for Democracy and Governance (1999) the role of the media in democracy has two roles. The first role is that it gives citizens enough information about a topic to help them make "responsible, informed choices" (p. 5) rather than allowing them to act through misinformation or through ignorance. The second role is that it provides a "checking function" (p. 5) that points to elected officials to make sure that they uphold the oath they took in their particular office and that they carry out the wishes of their constituents. When we as citizens look at the media, we do expect that it will give us the information that we need to make good decisions. As an example, the Obama presidential campaign showed us how the media can inform us of what to do. Obama used Facebook as his major media contact and still uses this outlet today. People were able to ask questions and to follow the campaign from beginning to end. Many people suggest that this is how he eventually won the presidency, and this shows that he understood the power of the media. In a democracy, people are not under the influence of the government like in other countries. As an example, there are some countries that only receive the information that their government wants them to access. In some Muslim countries, as an example, any information that shows women as liberated will be blocked whether it is on television or on the Internet (Deibert, 2011). In this situation, the government did not want people to follow the protests in the Middle East for fear that it would affect them in some way. This again shows the power of the media on the opposite side. That is, the media can be used to manipulate the ideas of a country or it can be used to hinder the thoughts of the individuals living in a country. We hope that in a democracy, this does not happen. The Center for Democracy and Governance also states that the media must understand who they are communicating to in order to get the right message to the right people. They suggest that the audience for media attention includes: 1. Consumers 2. Individual producers (reporters, editors, technicians, business managers) 3. Content provider companies (wire services, think tanks, NGOs) 4. Training institutes, universities 5. Independent regulators 6. Media monitors (political polling agencies, policy institutes, advocacy groups, governments, advertisers) 7. Professional organizations (journalism and business associations) 8. New technology gatekeepers (infrastructure developers, software creators, trainers, investors). (p. 7). When thinking about these audiences, it is clear to see that each one would have a different opinion to express on any given topic. The media is therefore important to each of these audiences in order to make sure that they also can communicate effectively to their constituents. Perception of Media Central to the important of media in a democracy is the way that the media and its message are received by the audience. Often, we are told that the media is biased to one side or the other and this can stop people from believing the media ("Perception", 2011). When the public perceives that the media is not telling them the truth or that it is not putting for the effort to bring forth all of the facts, people tend to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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