To be honest, when studying the effects of mass media, I get many arguments for and against it. I have always liked the topics with a long list of arguments, and here comes another aspect of how we might look at media, this time – from a bit more political view.
Western-style democracies live with a system of representative democracy, which is a principle that elected individuals represent a group of people. This system gives the elected people a power of decision making regarding the group that has elected these individuals. The people in power are watched over and often judged by the people who elected them. And these people require a complete transparency towards the people in power. It is required to have knowledge about their actions as they are affecting the lives of the others
Michael Schudson, the author of the book “Why democracies need an unlovable press” gives six primary functions of journalism in a democracy: information, investigation, social empathy, provision of a public forum and service as an advocate for political programmes. Last but not least, journalism should publicize and promote representative democracy. This should be done in a way that it is taken a step forward from simply providing society with free exchange of ideas. There is a need of democracy to engage in a conversation and it is press that contributes to a democratic conversation.
Powerful journalism is needed because of several reasons. For a democracy to occur there should be no corruption. And corruption is less likely to occur where there is more exposure from the media. People in power are limited in their shady actions where there is powerful journalism taking place. Good transparent relationship between those in power and the society can be achieved through quality journalism and good exposure. Journalists need to be watching over the current affairs and act as informants in order to provide the transparency that is needed in democracy.
We can all admit that the big headlines can be a pain in the ass, but it is not the only thing that journalism provides us with. There are many examples of a quality journalism that is exposing the acts of those in power. And often these people will be most often represented in the media, as they are the ones who affect our lives in the same spectacular way we have affected their positions. And the affect we have on each other is very significant.