Media Essay Help:

The media is known as the third authority in any country. The reason is that the media has the ability to keep politicians and other authorities in check. Because the media has the ability to reach the public, to influence public opinion and to tell the world what happened, those who are in the positions of power are often afraid of making mistakes that will make them appear as criminals or wrongdoers. However, since the media is always thirsty for information and news, most politicians will avoid doing anything wrong, and if they do, they will make sure that no reporter will find out about them. But in a world of high technology where information travels very quickly, it is impossible to expect a secret to remain hidden for long, and therefore, sooner or later, the media will find out what is going on. Making secrets public is not the only source of fear for politicians from the media. Criticism and influencing the public opinion is another serious problem. For the public, the media is a very important and vital source of information on how things are going in the state. Usually, the public are not aware of the actions of politicians or the consequences of these actions. The media, on the other hand, has the ability to show the truth in different ways, to analyze events and to shed lights on what they really mean. Accordingly, the public become more aware of political decisions and activities, and they become more capable of telling whether the government is doing the right or the wrong thing. Politicians try to censor the media because they are aware of the influence that the media has in bringing the truth to the public and in impacting public opinion.

The Power of Media:

In the twentieth century, and with the unprecedented technological developments, the media have become very powerful all over the world. In democratic countries, the media are given unlimited freedom to operate, to probe into stories, to go after politicians and to reveal corruption wherever it existed. These practices are protected by the laws that protect the freedom of speech. The media can only operate when the freedom of speech is available. In democratic countries, this freedom exists, and therefore, the media is considered to be a very powerful authority because it can operate without any restrictions. Even when the media exceed their limits, such as when they go after the personal details of politicians and celebrities, the law can do nothing to stop them from doing that, except when there is a clear violation of the law such as making up a story that is damaging to the reputation of someone. Apart from this, the media can operate as they wish without any interference from the government.

In countries that do not have democracy as a basis for their system, the media are not free to reach the public. Newspapers are still distributed and the TV and radio networks still broadcast their news. What differs is the content. In countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and many others, the media can only report those events and news which are allowed by the state. Red lines exist all over. A reporter who violates these red lines will most probably end in jail, and the newspaper might be closed. TV stations suffer much more restrictions because of their direct contact with the audiences. TV stations in undemocratic countries are usually owned by the government so that there will be no opportunity for any errors to take place. Newspapers, on the other hand, may be privately owned, but they are also censored by the government. In such systems, there is no need to review every article before it is sent to the press. The editors already know their lessons. Mistakes are punished immediately, and the editor himself has to suffer for that. Therefore, every editor will make sure that he censors his newspaper according to the desires and rules of the government. Therefore, in non-democratic countries, even when there is no direct censorship governed by the state, reporters and editors will censor their own writings because of the fear from punishment.

Movie films are also censored by the laws of undemocratic countries. The censorship of a film depends on many variables. In some countries, a film may not be allowed at all because it is against the regime or because it propagates serious political messages to the public that are totally unacceptable and threatening to the government. Some films may be allowed to be played, but censorship will make sure that some parts will be taken off if they are considered as inadequate to the censorship regulations. In Lebanon for example, many films have bits and pieces removed from them if they contain pornographic scenes.

It appears that in undemocratic countries, there is a lot of censorship whereas in democratic countries, the media enjoy absolute freedom. This is not completely true. Even in democratic countries, where anything may be written or reported without the interference of the law, censorship still exists. One major source of censorship in democratic countries is the ethical code of the reporter. The first thing that a reporter learns when he goes to

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