Effects of the Media on Politics
The media has a crucial role within the democratic contexts of any society. The media plays a major role of a watchdog in which it offers unfettered scrutiny on current democratic dispensations of the nation. It also holds discussions of the successes and failures of the government, candidates, and electoral management bodies. The media informs the public on how effectively the government has performed and it helps in making it accountable.
The media is of practical and normative importance and its introduction and application to politics has made the governments to use it as a propagandist tool. Other governments have draconian measures that decapitate the media.
The media plays an important role in the education of the polity. The politicians around the globe have used the media as a campaign platform, and the media’s role in relation to this is to ensure that the public is educated on the political agenda of all the parties involved. However, crafty politicians and biased media have exploited this to ensure that the public gets a biased angle of information, therefore, rallying public opinion to their favor.
As enshrined in the international covenant on Civil and Political rights, all people have the right to express opposing opinions (83). While candidate and party campaigns are some form of debates, there are also voices that need to be heard within the public forums. The role of the media in this case is providing a platform for debate and discussion that is, therefore, vital. This role as a platform for public debate is delicate, especially during conflict and the line between debate and conflict needs to be carefully managed by professional media.
Mass media makes the freedoms of speech and expressions a reality. The exercise of the freedom of expression and speech has little meaning when exercised at an individual level. Media provides a platform for the expression of opinions to the larger polity. The European Court of Human Rights has concluded that media freedom is vital for keeping citizens informed.
“Compulsory Membership in an Association Prescribed by Law for the Practice of Journalism, Inter-American Court of Human Rights”, Adv. Opn. OC-5/83 of 13 Nov. 1985, Series A no. 5, reprinted in Human Rights Law Journal7(1986):74 and in EHRR 8: 165.
“International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”, Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, accessed August 16, 2012. http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx
“Media Play a Key Role in Senegal’s Election”, International Center for Journalists, May 07, 2012. http://www.icfj.org/news/media-play-key-role-senegals-election