The media has played a very important role in providing people with information. It has been one of the most important bodies in democracies. Currently, the media has become a phenomenal part of the society as it plays a very important part in providing people with information concerning many different things. Societies today depend on media to gain understanding of the economy, politics, security, social functions and other happenings around the world. The media is a complex field and the inception of social media in the recent past has further complicated things. Understanding the roles of media and the freedoms provided to the media by the government.
Media plays a very big role in a democracy. Some of the major responsibilities played by the media include informing the society on what is happening in the democracy and all over the world. The media helps people to understand the democratic events as well as informing people on the democratic choices, as stated by Okigbo and Goran (38). Provoking public debates, is another very important role of the media. Today, the media is a big player in clarifying complex issues. Information is the force propelling economic advancements as well as all events in the global field. The media provides people with a lot of information concerning different happenings in a democracy including uncovering abuses, and pressures the governments and the concerned stakeholders to take steps towards rectifying the issues (NATO 1998). Also, alerting and mobilizing the public opinion to humanitarian causes and injustices, allowing political pluralism to express itself through advertisement of different views and ideologies to various issues, and keeping politicians aware about the public opinion are some other responsibilities of the media. It also ensures that the politicians are offered a platform to explain their policies and decisions, in order to create the necessary support.
Media ensures that facts are separated from opinions and individual viewpoints. Before reporting on anything, checking sources of information is very important and that is a role which the media should accomplish. Media also works towards setting the political agenda, in a way that does not trivialize or sensationalize the issues. The media is responsible for publishing corrections about any erroneously published report, and it also works towards preserving state secrets, protecting information which may be used to harm a nation’s security.
The American media faces numerous challenges in its bid to fulfill its democratic responsibilities. Some of the challenges include poor quality of coverage. Coverage of news has remained to be a big issue facing the media. Currently, the profits of many media houses have started to reduce at a high rate. The reduction has led to an increase in the economic pressure imposed on the media (Sunstein 2018). Media houses do not operate for charity and therefore, making profits is very important. With the economic difficulties which have affected many markets in the recent past, the media has also suffered. The media has the role of informing the public as well as making money for the investors. Balancing these two roles is a great challenge.
Additionally, political pressure, lack of goodwill by the politicians and poor political environment for the media to operate freely have always been affecting the operations of the media. Other major issues affecting the media include credibility or public trust, the media environment, as well as ethics and standards. When public trust is affected negatively, the media cannot operate well. The media environment has not fully embraced free reporting. This provides major issues for the media during the process of trying to work on their responsibilities.
The government has been phenomenal in helping the media to play its democratic role and fulfill its responsibilities. Through protecting the right of the media through advocating for free press and improving the environment in which the media works, the American government has been phenomenal in improving the operations of the media. In the recent decades, many things have happened in a way to show that democracy is two-way traffic. Implementations of the required institutions is not the only requirement in the media field. The accountability of the government is essential in the process of providing a good environment for the media (Voltmer n.d.). While there remains to be various major challenges, the government has made huge strides in making sure that the media operates in the best manner.
With the insurgence of social media, the federal government is required to ensure that operations go smoothly. It is important for the government to ensure that the news the public is fed with, is factual and that no unverified information is transmitted to the people. Additionally, people should not be provided with negative information. The government has to ensure that it protects the country and its people’s safety. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the media does not disclose information which may be harmful to the safety of the people. In case media houses violate any public decency standards, the FCC will act on them. The government also regulates the ownership of media outlets in order to ensure that the information people are provided with is accurate and it is consistent with the regulations and standards set by the FCC.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act has had a major impact on the communication. FCC rules changed a lot in the process of improving accountability. It is true that through the Act, the freedoms of broadcasters have increased significantly. It has continued to provide new possibilities to the broadcasters. It helps in minimizing unnecessary oversight rules. The Act provides that the FCC has to create a rating system, to control the broadcasting of sexual or any indecent content. Television sets should also incorporate a blocking device ( Messere n.d.). The other important regulation is to ensure that minors are not exposed to objectionable material.
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