Importance Of Media And Democracy: Essay

1967 words - 8 pages

Importance of Media and Democracy:

Media democracy is a set of ideas advocating reforming the mass media, strengthening public service broadcasting, and developing and participating in alternative media and citizen journalism. The stated purpose for doing so is to create a mass media system that informs and empowers all members of society, and enhances democratic values. It is a liberal-democratic approach to media studies that advocates the reformation of the mass media with an emphasis on public service broadcasting and audience participation, through the use of citizen journalism and alternative media channels. A media democracy focuses on using information technologies to both empower ...view middle of the document...

In this way, the construction of the mass media as a for-profit enterprise behaves in a way that runs counter to the democratic ideals of a free press.
Media democracy advocates that corporate ownership and commercial pressures influence media content, sharply limiting the range of news, opinions, and entertainment citizens receive. Consequently, they call for a more equal distribution of economic, social, cultural, and information capital, which would lead to a more informed citizenry, as well as a more enlightened, representative political discourse.
A media democracy advocates:
• Replacing the current libertarian media model with one that operates democratically, rather than for profit
• Strengthening public service broadcasting
• Incorporating the use of alternative media into the larger discourse
• Increasing the role of citizen journalism
• Turning a passive audience into active participants
• Using the mass media to promote democratic ideals

The competitive structure of the mass media landscape stands in opposition to democratic ideals since the competition of the marketplace effects how stories are framed and transmitted to the public. This can "hamper the ability of the democratic system to solve internal social problems as well as international conflicts in an optimal way."
Media democracy, however, is grounded in creating a mass media system that favours a diversity of voices and opinions over ownership or consolidation, in an effort to eliminate bias in coverage. This, in turn, leads to the informed public debate necessary for a democratic state. The ability to comprehend and scrutinize the connection between press and democracy is important because media has the power to tell a society’s stories and thereby influence thinking, beliefs and behavior. The concept of "democratizing the media" has no real meaning within the terms of political discourse in Western society.

Media ownership concentration

A key idea of media democracy is that the concentration of media ownership in recent decades in the hands of a few corporations and conglomerates has led to a narrowing of the range of voices and opinions being expressed in the mass media; to an increase in the commercialization of news and information; to a hollowing out of the news media’s ability to conduct investigative reporting and act as the public watchdog; and to an increase of emphasis on the bottom line, which prioritizes infotainment and celebrity news over informative discourse.
Cultural studies have investigated changes in the increasing tendency of modern mass media in the field of politics to blur and confuse the boundaries between journalism, entertainment, public relations and advertising. A diverse range of information providers is necessary so that viewers, readers and listeners receive a broad spectrum of information from varying sources that is not tightly controlled, biased and filtered. Access to different sources of information prevents...

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