Should the Mass Media Always Tell the Truth

Topics: Goh Chok Tong, Terrorism, Truth Pages: 4 (1321 words) Published: January 9, 2013
Theodore Roosevelt once commented on the mass media and journalism specifically – “The power of the journalist is great, but he is neither respected nor admired for it, unless it is used right.” The former president of the United States aptly summed up what the mass media should aim to do: to tell the truth and not abuse their power of massive influence. However, the recent spate of terrorist events tailored for the media seems to propose that the media should not always tell the truth, and that there are circumstances that do not require the whole and absolute truth. That, however, does not imply lying, but instead the telling of a partial truth. The mass media represents the specific body of the media envisioned for a large scale dissemination of information. Therefore, it is understandable that the mass media wields immense powers of influence over society. As it is, we depend on the media for coverage on the events taking place around us and for information on important global events. As Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore once commented, the mass media has a “moral and social responsibility”, and possesses powers of influence “greater than executives and corporate leaders”. Therefore, the mass media has to wield its responsibility and use its position of mass influence wisely – and this suggests a constant, steady, unwavering adherence to the truth. The extent of the mass media’s influence means that its every coverage of events would be eagerly lapped up and absorbed by members of the public, and the media has a social responsibility to cover and report events in a truthful, forthcoming light. Society depends on the mass media or factual reporting and unbiased recounts, and the mass media should live up to this dependence and expectation, and be held accountable. Moreover, it is important for the media to tell the truth, especially when it pertains to a nation’s welfare, or is in relation to important political affairs that concern a country’s...
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