Media and Democracy from a European Perspective - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication
Enrico Letta è intervenuto all'ONU alla Cerimonia di apertura del “CWMUN ” – Change the World Model UN che si è tenuto a New York dal 16 al Lang were the first to make the connection between the rise of network news and broader .. representative democracy, which can be used to compare media . There is no immediate or absolute relationship between the media and democracy in the sense that, without media, there could be no democracy. Similarly.
If media coverage of politics and political campaigns has little influence on public attitudes and behaviors, then presumably people need not be concerned over the quantity and quality of attention that is paid to politics in the media.
DEMOCRACY AND THE MEDIA
However, if media coverage of politics and political campaigns has a moderate or strong influence on public attitudes and behaviors, then protecting democratic government requires careful review—and possibly governmental regulation—of media, whether print or electronic, mainstream or alternative.
Historically, some scholars have maintained at one time or another that the media have almost no effect or that the media have a strong, direct effect on audiences, but the vast majority of contemporary scholars believe that the media have some, usually moderate, effects on some audiences in some situations.
Further complicating the relationship between democracy and the media has been the emergence of computer-based interactive media, including the Internetand other new technologies, such as facsimile machines. New media forms provide ordinary people with unparalleled opportunities to distribute information quickly and inexpensively to large numbers of their fellow citizens.
The democratic potential of such new media is sometimes described as being a way to compensate for the ownership of traditional media forms e. However, the proliferation of Internet sources has meant that the information provided on the Internet often is not accurate or, at the very least, Internet information has not been properly checked for accuracy. Additionally, while some political observers have discussed the potential of Internet voting and campaign material distribution to rejuvenate interest in voting and in political activism, others have argued that the tendency of Internet websites to engage in shallow political humor and parody is more likely to foster cynicism than to combat it.
Of course, given the rapid development of the Internet and its steady increase in availability and ease of use, the political implications of emerging electronic media are far from certain, whether in historically democratic societies or in authoritarian nations where governments are struggling, usually with uneven success, to restrain the free flow of information. Moral Obligations of Media Professionals The obligations or duties of media professionals as those duties relate to life in a democracy have been far from clear as new media technologies have become available.
By the eighteenth century, liberal democratic theory as developed in Europe and North America suggested that opinion and deception were inevitably going to be part of a free society, but such theories also maintained that truth would emerge in the end after vigorous debates about public policy issues. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, however, slipshod journalistic practices and highly partisan editors and publishers including Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst led many observers to become increasingly uncomfortable with media that frequently published exaggerated stories that came complete with an obvious political slant.
In response to such excesses, alternative theories of the relationship between democracy and the media were considered. Specifically, what eventually was called the social responsibility theory of the media emerged by the mid-twentieth century in the United Statesmost noticeably in the report of the Hutchins Commission on Freedom of the Press.
While still embracing the notion of a free press, social responsibility theory suggested that the special freedoms that were given to media in democratic societies meant that media had a responsibility to report accurately and objectively the multiple perspectives on matters of public relevance. This argument was used with particularly great force against radio and television broadcasters who were allowed to use a public resource, broadcast frequencies, for their individual gain.
Because media have an obligation to inform the public about politically relevant information, for example, some members of the Hutchins Commission even speculated that the failure of media to meet their public obligations might require further governmental regulation to see that this obligation was met. While government surveillance and regulation of media content along the lines discussed by the Hutchins Commission never took place, prevailing sentiment among media professionals who reported political news favored some version of the social responsibility theory for the latter half of the twentieth century.
Even as social responsibility theory was gaining acceptance among journalists, modern political campaigns increasingly were required to rely heavily on media for contact with prospective voters in nations such as France, Great Britainand the United States. Even the ancient practice of political speech making, as Kathleen Hall Jamieson observes in her book Eloquence in an Electronic Agebecame relatively more intimate, conversational, and television-friendly by the late twentieth century.
In addition to "paid media," or media messages that were distributed in the form of paid advertisements, for example, political candidates sought to capitalize on the advantages of "free media" exposure by soliciting favorable media attention in one way or another, even by staging media events, or "pseudo-events," whose only purpose was to attract the attention of print and electronic journalists.
While media effects research in the s and s often indicated that the influence of media on prospective voters was minimal, more recent research suggests that media coverage of political campaigns may have some worrisome and, ultimately, undemocratic effects.
In presidential primaries, the tendency of media professionals to give the vast majority of their attention to the best-known candidates and to put great importance on performance in a few early primaries or caucuses means that the choices of those professionals may have an enormous effect on the outcome of the campaign. Furthermore, even when media outlets talk about issues, those issues may concern campaign issues e.
Media democracy - Wikipedia
Another complaint is that some electronic media, most notably television, address a diverse mass audience that discourages candidates from taking any meaningful or controversial positions for fear of alienating some voters. As a result of these observations, some scholars conclude that the media have not met their obligations to the public by providing relevant information about the public policies that are preferred by different candidates.
In contrast, defenders of media campaign coverage point out that people learn about issues and policy preferences from media outlets. If voters do learn relatively little about issues, it may be because candidates themselves take few substantive policy positions during campaigns.
Perhaps the most optimistic way to interpret the current situation is described by Roderick P. Hart in his book Seducing America According to Hart, one way to interpret the relationship between democracy and the media is that television, at least, is an imperfect and frequently shallow source of political information, but it teaches something about politics to even the most apathetic citizen and encourages the best citizens to learn more about politics and even to become politically active.
The problem for Hart, unfortunately, is that television, the primary source of political information for most people, is a passive medium designed for personal entertainment, rather than encouraging political action and a sense of civic responsibility.
Only the exceptional individual is inspired by television to take an active and personal interest in politics, let alone in political campaigns.
One clear example of the controversial and complex relationship between democracy and the media is found in research on campaign debates. Beginning with the famous Kennedy-Nixon U. Presidential candidates have no choice but to participate in such debates if they wish to be perceived as being capable and qualified, and candidates in state and even local political campaigns are likely to be invited to participate in one or more debates.
Certainly, the available evidence suggests that, whatever their previous levels of information, voters acquire more knowledge about political candidates after watching a debate, in which voters are able to compare the policy platforms and personal attributes of the major-party candidates.
When compared to traditional campaign speeches, debates may be more informative and rightly deserve the large amount of media attention that they get. However, media coverage of and participation in campaign debates has been repeatedly criticized.
First, media are sometimes said to influence public perceptions of those debates by focusing on competitive concerns, namely who "won" or "lost" a given debate.
The result is that public policy concerns addressed in those debates are given relatively little attention. Second, as media professionals sometimes ask questions of the candidates or serve as moderators during the debates, their participation in the debates is subject to great scrutiny. For example, one study published by Frances R. Matera and Michael B. Salwen found that journalists who asked lengthy questions of candidates during presidential debates, especially questions with multiple parts, might contribute to the tendency of candidates to give long-winded answers that ignore part or all of the original question.
And these are incalculable advantages for democracy, which is based precisely on participation and freedom. Now a good idea only needs its own force and the credibility of the person expressing it to move forward, reach others and be a success. And the debate of different ideas is based on the force of an idea rather than on the ways in which a person conveys that idea. This leads us to think about how politics and electoral campaigns are funded. It is an issue that has been called into question by the Internet and new media.Media Institution: Crash Course Government and Politics #44
It is no longer true, as it was ten or twenty years ago, that you cannot win an election without vast financial resources. The Internet has moved the goalposts. The cost of electoral campaigns is changing radically and political parties with no structure, no civil servants and no money can now get results that would have been impossible ten years ago.
The situations in Italy and in Spain are very interesting from this point of view. It is also true that the Internet challenges some of the pillars we have always thought of as untouchable.
I am thinking, for example, of the fact that representative democracy has always functioned according to a clear sequence. During elections, citizens speak with their vote and form a parliament and a government. Then theses citizens are replaced and represented by their representatives, members of parliament and government, who act on behalf of their citizens between one election and another.
This sequenceis called into question by the fact that social media provide both the opportunity and the desire for dialogue that cannot be confined to the period of elections. There is a clear need for this dialogue to find a way to continue between one election and another, without delegitimising those who have been chosen as the legitimate representatives of the people. Here there is a large area yet to be explored to see how to enable the people to participate between one election and the next, bearing in mind that this participation, if it is well organised, could potentially be a huge help to representatives of parliament and government.
The other big issue at stake when considering the relationship between new media and democracy lies in the question of transparency and privacy. On the positive side truth, on the negative side constant intrusions on privacy. Rules exist but the problem lies in the grey area that is just too widespread.
A grey area built on plausibility how many plausible yet false stories circulate on social networks without there being a way to put forward the actual facts instead of on truth, and a grey area built on breach of privacy, both authorised by the idea that politicians are privileged people who therefore do not deserve special protection.
This can "hamper the ability of the democratic system to solve internal social problems as well as international conflicts in an optimal way. This, in turn, leads to the informed public debate necessary for a democratic state. In the United States, these organizations are known as the Big Six. General ElectricWalt Disney Co. A similar approach has been taken in Canada, where most media outlets are owned by national conglomerates.
This has led to a reduction in the number of voices and opinions communicated to the public; to an increase in the commercialization of news and information; a reduction in investigative reporting; and an emphasis on infotainment and profitability over informative public discourse. The concentration of media outlets has been encouraged by government deregulation and neoliberal trade policies. In the United States, the Telecommunications Act of removed most of the media ownership rules that were previously put in place.
This led to a massive consolidation of the telecommunications industry. Over 4, radio stations were bought out, and minority ownership in TV stations dropped to its lowest point sincewhen the federal government began tracking the data.