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Democracy And The News; An Informed Citizenry. How Does The Media Reflect And Affect Democracy?

2699 words - 11 pages

This paper will look at the different ways the media reflects and affects society by examining the various relationships that exists between the media, the state and the citizens. It will firstly define key terms, allowing for controversial words to have a specific and continuing definition throughout the paper. Three key ideas, centering around the relationships between the media and the state, will make up the major part of this paper; namely how the media affects the state, how the state affects the media and failed attempts by the media to affect the state. Examples of each concept being discussed will be included, showing the notion in practice. Relationships between the media and citizens will also be examined and discussed, again using examples to show each in action. The relationship between the media and citizens will be discussed, examining the ability of the media to influence the public, the public's ability to influence the media and failed attempts of the media to influence the public. The conclusion of this paper will detail the role of the media within society, how it operates and different functions it both performs, and attempts to perform.The media is a constantly changing medium. It includes television, newspapers, magazines, journals, radio, cinema, advertisements, and interactive multi-media. It can also include the Internet, video games, mobile phones and computers ( O'Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2002 ). No undisputable definition of the term 'media' exists, however, for the purpose of this paper the following definition given by O'Shaughnessy and Stadler ( 2002 ), will be understood as conclusive.The media are technologically developed and economically profitableforms of human communication, held either in public or private ownership,which can transmit information and entertainment across time and space tolarge groups of people ( O'Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2002; Pg 4 ).A democracy is " the notion that power and authority is vested in the people, " ( Singleton et al, 2000; Pg 4 ). In Australia, citizens vote for representatives that make up the parliament, and the party holding the majority form Government. Government operates at three levels; Commonwealth, state and local. Parliamentary members are held accountable and responsible for their actions, and numerous institutions designed to check and balance power exists to ensure this occurs.Citizen is defined in The Macquarie Dictionary ( 1994 ) as being "a member, native or naturalized, of a state or nation, " ( Pg 187 ) and will adopt this definition throughout this paper.The print and electronic media's ability to broadcast information both quickly and widely across society allows the media to successfully enact the role of ' public watchdog ' ( Wheeler, 1997; Pg 238 ). The media feeds citizens information. The public is informed of what occurs around them and abroad, who their politicians are, how they look and sound and important issues being suggested, debated and...

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