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Media and Cultural Landscapes: An Analysis od the Media's Informational Role in Serving the Public Sphere - Essay Example

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Media and cultural landscapes: An analysis of the media’s informational role in serving the public sphere “All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.” William Bernbach Introduction: The role and influence of the mass media particularly with regard to professional journalism, has seen a dramatic transformation over the years, as is apparent from the promotional tactics applied by them; the endorsing of political as well as personal views which have a major bearing on the political as well as public sphere; and the ability to transform the social structure by un…
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Media and Cultural Landscapes: An Analysis od the Medias Informational Role in Serving the Public Sphere
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Download file to see previous pages In a nutshell, popular media today has played a key role in bringing about significant changes through their sheer power of sharing and broadcasting information oriented towards the public good (Preston, 2009). This paper aims to discuss, analyze, and understand the informational role of popular media in serving the public sphere. For the purpose of this study, the case of the Occupy Movement, will be studied and discussed briefly. The Occupy Movement: Implications of public sphere and the changing role of the media: The concept of public sphere was first developed by a German sociologist Jurgen Habermas, who defined it as "An arena, independent of government (even if in receipt of state funds) and also enjoying autonomy from partisan economic forces, which is dedicated to rational debate (i.e. to debate and discussion which is not ‘interests’, ‘disguised’ or ‘manipulated’) and which is both accessible to entry and open to inspection by the citizenry. It is here, in this public sphere, that the public opinion is formed" (cited in Thussu,2006, pp. 55). This concept entails the existence of a public platform whereby the citizens are afforded a right to voice their individual opinions without any political domination or restrictions, regarding matters of public concern or which have wide ranging implications for public benefit. It also implies the existence of a free society wherein the public is granted an exclusive right to exercise their free will, and voice their opinions regarding matters crucial to them, as well as beneficial for the wider benefit of the society at large, and take positive steps to bring about a change by participating in public activities, events or movements to bring about a social reform / change (Weisser, 2002). The role of media as contributors of information and helping the public by endorsing their views and opinions has been widely witnessed and appreciated. The contemporary media has pushed the envelope further, by transforming itself from being merely a channel for broadcasting events, to adopting a participatory and investigative approach to public events; and contributing in forming a public opinion rather than gaining a public consensus. For the public to reach an agreement and claim their rights, it is imperative for the public to have a free access, freedom and right to unadulterated information concerning them (McPhail, 2006). The media, in present times have done just that, as is apparent from the recently witnessed global phenomenon, known as the Occupy Movement. The Occupy movement which began on September 17, 2011 after a group of activists protesting against corporate greed, social inequality and the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations, in a privately owned, Zuccotti Park, in New York, under a loosely organized protest titled Occupy Wall Street, were spread rapidly to dozens of other cities across the U.S (NY Times, 2012). This information was broadcast by almost all the prominent channels in the country, and made it to the front ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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