"Communication remains God's great gift to humanity without which we cannot be truly human, reflecting God's image." (Cañaberal, 1993, 44) Freedom of speech is a right of individuals as they possess their own free will. Because of their free will, individuals have expressed their thoughts, desires, and aspirations through the mass media. Communicating freely with other affirms the dignity and worth of each and every member of society. Freedom of expression is essential in the attainment and advancement of knowledge. Communication brings forth various ideas and information. People today are better informed and more enlightened thanks to thriving press freedom and expanding mass media here and in many parts of the world. All points of view are represented in the "marketplace of ideas" and society benefits from debate about their worth. "Monkey see, monkey do" has become a well-known saying in today's society. In addition, this is how media influences society as it leaves a large impact on the individuals. Media has been considered by Ciony C. Gonzales as "
the most dominant art form
." (1984, 9) as it has an innate power to engage and affect the total person. It leaves a compelling and lasting impact on both the conscious and subconscious (Gonzales, 1984, 9). Though media informs and educates, it also corrupts and exploits, leading it to contribute to the moral degradation of society. Media's role in society is to inform, educate, and entertain. It tells the truth and provides positive stimulation that can build up images and reputations the right way (Grantoza, 1993, 31). It can also be a tribunal of justice (Reuter, 1993, n.p.). Therefore, media has contributed greatly in ways that both enlighten and enrich society, but in other ways have deteriorated and perplexed it. It is not a surprise to learn, then, that media is the most powerful source of information, and nothing else in today's world influences public perception as heavily. "Media in the Philippines
is simply a reflection, an outgrowth, a mirror
of society as a whole." (Benigno, 1993, 6) After all, media has been perceived to have such a large power over people. But, rather than performing its role in society, media today has strayed, having a more negative than positive implication. It backstabs, destroys images and reputations, covers up the truth, stimulates negatively, and imparts the wrong messages. Moreover, people experience a freedom of the press that becomes an avalanche of conflicting information and opinion. It is a freedom which is often misleading. "It confuses even as it is supposed to enlighten, it assails the senses even as it is supposed to refine them, it entertains more than it enlightens, it gossips more than it informs." (Benigno, 1993, 6) The right to freedom of expression is being severely tested today as artistic expression is under attack, as some groups seek to impose their morality on the rest of society. Thus, media has become morally and creatively bankrupt. Media shows no values and moral ethics and the content is filled with no other topic but violence and sex. Consequently, media mirrors society by reflecting it as a society with low morals, with crime, sex, and pornography. It contributes to the national breakdown and the moral degradation of society. It has corrupted and exploited the freedom of the press (Benigno, 1993, 6). Media teaches by means of vibrations and images that leave a greater effect on the youth (Reuter, 1993, n.p.). People become victims of media's manipulation as they are being influenced for the worse. Because of the influences that affect the subconscious, all forms of media should be taken more seriously as to avert harmful effects (Gonzales, 1984, 9). "Media is one-sided. It only cares about money - this is media's world." (Cañaberal, 1993, 44) Thus, it corrupts and exploits society, predominantly the youth, by generating an atmosphere of want (Cañaberal, 1993, 44). Media changes the system of formation by...
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