Saturday, May 9, 2009

Media and Democracy

It is always emphasized that if democracy is to exist, the existence of a free and pluralistic media system is necessary. Media is considered as the fourth estate of nation after three major ones namely executive, legislative and judiciary. All the four bodies needs to function well in order to foster democracy in the country. As the executive or the working government executes the power, media needs to deal with the government. On one hand, government makes the rules and guidelines for media to follow assuming them to be implemented. Then the judiciary punishes media for violation of the rule if it is not being well followed. On the other hand, the media observes and scrutinizes each and every step of the government working as a watchdog.
Democracy is the practice where people are freely allowed to opine themselves and the same practice contributes for the improvement and well function of mass media. Democracy is required for media as it allows getting the rights of press freedom, freedom of expression, safety of journalist and others that are essential for the existence of media. There is no democracy in true sense where media cannot freely exist. Similarly, Media democracy is a production and distribution model, which promotes a system that informs and empowers all members of society, and enhances democratic values. Democratizing the media involves reforming the mass media, strengthening public service broadcasting and developing independent media. If media continues to face hurdles and contradictions that hinder in bringing about a dynamic information-rich social structure, strong enough to sustain the democratic polity and the freedom that comes with it.
Democratic and independent media performs the role or watchdog against the malfunctions of government and warns against corrupt practices. It ensures to encourage public to opine themselves when government needs the public support or suggestion for the betterment of the country. It not only informs public about the happenings around us but also performs the role of bridge between government and mass. Media provides platform for government to express their concepts and for mass to criticize or praise the government. It even uncovers the wrong deeds so that public can see what politicians and government are falling for. During the time of elections as well, media provides the platform for politicians to endorse their view so that public can choose their desire candidate thus making democracy meaningful and strong.
Media is an industry, which is basically meant for service purpose but needs to run itself commercially so as to earn living for contributors and further survival of industry. Due to the same reason media depends on advertisement which tends to be their oxygen. In a democratic country, government is the major advertiser contributing in the revenue collection. Without advertisement no media can survive for long and the most relevant example for this is Christian Science Monitor and Chicago Tribune which were shut down due to lack of advertisements. Government gives out notification and makes their announcements through the media. Also, the government can help to provide printing papers at cheap rate and increase the number of supply by getting membership in all offices under government control.
The government has considerable role in facilitating and regulating media. It makes laws to keep media in track so as to develop it. If the ethics and laws determined by democratic government is not followed by media then it is sure to get punished. Like the media functions as watchdog, government watches over the actions of the mass media if it is violating laws in the name of freedom. This two-way relationship between media and government can help to flourish democracy and make it strong. Media and democratic political system depends on the efficient, accurate, and complete transmission of social, political, and cultural information in society where voters and citizens are able to participate knowledgeably in public policy debates.
Even inside of media house, democracy is equally important as it is in case of country. Those media houses where democratic concept does not prevail cannot be fair enough as those where it does. For the media to be democratic, it is outmost important to have editorial freedom. Those media house where editors are scrutinized while functioning cannot be called democratic. Reporters should be allowed to raise their voice in public interest leaving behind the boundary of caste, class and ideology. There should be is financially viability.

Media is designated for maintaining accuracy, balance and credibility of the provided information which without democracy may hamper its authenticity. It is also well known that an independent and credible media can contribute in public awareness, political consciousness and also preventing the chances difficulties by bewaring in time.

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