Media Policy and Regulation

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In the following assignment, we explain internal regulations and he various forms of regulation; norms, pressure groups, advertisers and consumers and establish how they impact the media and content. We also take you through the journey of the four stages (Introduction, growth, maturity and decline) in the life cycle of a portable, film camera. We consider the duration, nature of the market, measure of competition and sales volumes for each phase. Lastly, we take a look at a news report entitled “Five children die as school coach overturns in crash”. There are nine news values that reporters use to contextualise a story however, we will only be discussing five of them as well as examining the evidence that shows gatekeeping and agenda-setting have been practised in the news room of this article.

Internal regulation, unlike external regulation which refers to laws and statutory organisations that have an influence on how the media should perform, refers to how the medium itself and non-statutory organisations organise the functioning and performance of the media. It is whereby the media and communications industry set rules and regulations for themselves to adhere to in order to maintain professionalism, ethical practices and external regulations. There are numerous forms of regulation however we will be taking a closer look at four in particular, namely; norms, pressure groups, advertisers and consumers. “Norms have to do with what's acceptable or unacceptable to the audience.” Fourie (2009:85). Norms are flexible and are reflected in what the media choose to publish. As an example of a norm, the media will not easily publish a photo of an uncovered deceased person as this would be disrespectful to the family and friends and is therefore socially unacceptable. Although pictures do sometimes get published, it is very seldom and not without an uproar by viewers therefore influencing the media not to publish that type of content. Pressure groups also help to regulate the content of the media. People gather themselves into groups in order to be heard as the voice of an individual becomes quieter as the media gets bigger. These groups then pressurize journalists to change the news or remove a story in its entirety. An example of such a pressure group is a woman’s rights activist group who put pressure on the media to either publish or not publish certain stories pertaining to women’s rights, dignity and equality. Advertisers also influence the content published by the media with threats of removing their advertisements if the media don't listen to their preferences. The advertisers’ power over the media is directly related to the degree to which the media is dependent on the advertisers’ income. An example of advertisers as a form of regulation could be that if for example Toyota placed advertisements in the Men’s Health magazine and Audi suddenly has a news breaking revolutionary introduction to the vehicle industry which Men’s Health would like to publish, Toyota may threaten to remove their advertisements from their magazines if they publish the story about Audi. Lastly, the consumer, being on the demand side of the spectrum, also influences the content of the media. If the media consumer is not happy with the media, the media will lose them. For instance, if the Mercury wasn’t covering a news story that the whole world was talking about, consumers would be upset and would purchase another newspaper which was up to date with the current state of affairs. The Mercury would then be forced to also publish the stories or risk losing their consumers. Therefore, consumers play a big role in media regulation. The implications of the various forms of regulation on the media and content are that it can change the media’s original message (Cilliers 2008: 83) and is therefore not an accurate reflection of reality. Internal...
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