Few weeks ago my Media society professor ask to the class if the democratic process is compatible with the media. We should give a paper on this problematic in groups. We got an A. It is a good thing, but with groups we have to take some decisions and make “sacrifices”. So, today I would like to share my full answer to this question.
THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND THE MEDIA
There will always be interaction between the government and the media.
For me, the primary function of the media is to highlight important issues, such as economic, social and political issues. I think the media have to go and get information and investigate. In addition, they must question the information they receive from all sides, is it government or anonymous. We must always doubt. When we question a piece of information, we evolve. It is always necessary to have protagonists on the subjects. Without them, there is no debate, therefore no evolution. It is also the role of the media, to evolve society, to renew it. Never have a single version of the facts. That is why newspapers, radio stations and television stations have different positions. And finally, the media must facilitate access to this information and make it more comprehensible. For example, law texts are not always very comprehensive for the majority of the population; the media must make it more readable and transparent so as to understand it more. This is often used in political show talks like Bill Maher, it reuses information to make it more attractive with words that everyone else uses.
There is no denying that the media have a strong influence on public opinion, especially as politicians are less and less appreciated by the public. Their influence can be manifested in several ways, such as demonstrations in protest against political decisions. For example, the Woman march and the ban against Trump’s policy on immigration.
Because of its power, the government and its members want to hide information or manipulate the truth. One could see that when the President Nixon to deny having known to put microphones in the headquarters of the Democratic party or even now with Trump who says ignore that his entourage is in contact with the Russians.
I think that as long as the facts are not revealed in the press or any other media, they do not exist.
In the end, everything is a matter of notoriety, the media need to sell articles, and politicians for elections. Both media and government are complementary and indivisible. One does not exist without the other.
However, respect for democracy is mandatory for the media to exercise their profession. Yet this democracy is often weakened when it comes to scandal involving media. In particular, the 1st amendment is often violated regarding freedom of expression and the right to information. This can be seen in the Valerie Palme case. Journalists were forced to denounce their sources.
However, the media are not always free. It must not be forgotten that they must all be accountable in terms of audience, in economic terms. We saw also that some shows had to correspond to an editorial line for the advertisers. In addition, the media can often be manipulated.
And finally, the information is not always accurate. With the information race, the media tend to publish information without having checked it beforehand.
And you ? Which vision do you have about the compatibility of the government and the media ?