Sociology: Mass Media and Media House

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Mikhail
Gibbings

Sociology

IA

Table of Contents

Problem Statement3

Introduction4

Aims and Objectives5

Literature Review6

Collection of Data8

Cover Letter9

Questionnaire10

Presentation of Data12

Analysis of Data17

Discussion of Findings18

Problem Statement

To what extent does media bias affect the internal affairs of MATT? Introduction

The Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) was started in 1986 under founding president Andy Johnson. MATT came out of the now defunct organization The Journalists Association of Trinidad and Tobago (JATT). While this study was being conducted, Mr. Kerry Peters was head of the association. However as of March 14th Mr. Peters has resigned.

MATT seeks to promote press freedom and deal with issues concerning its implementation and enforcement. MATT also serves as a general representative body of journalists and other media personnel in Trinidad and Tobago. It collaborates with the Association of Caribbean Media-workers (ACM) and other similar media associations in holding workshops and seminars to improve the standard of media coverage both locally and regionally.

MATT has achieved many things in their 25 year life span as an association. They have helped to promote general press freedom across the island through negotiation. They have also been able to provide a larger collective voice for media persons in Trinidad and Tobago to voice opinions and concerns on key, pressing issues in both local and regional spheres.

Aims and Objectives

Within every organization there are issues which make the smooth operation of the organization much more difficult or completely impossible. One of the main issues affecting MATT is the effect of members’ respective media houses on their input within the association. According to the MATT vice-president Ms. Judy Raymond “there are challenges caused by the fact that unlike, say, lawyers or architects, who are generally independent professionals, journalists usually work for a single employer, so there are potential conflicts there if, e.g. the Matt executive speaks out about a dispute involving a media house that employs some of the executive members, or if an employer strongly disagrees with Matt's position on an issue.” By the end of this study I hope to be able to:

1. Identify the external factors which have an effect on the internal affairs of MATT. 2. Explore to what degree these factors affect the individual members of MATT. 3. Suggest methods which the organization could use to rectify member bias in MATT.

Literature Review

In Ken Gordon’s autobiographical book “Getting it Write: Winning Caribbean Press Freedom” Ken Gordon addresses the issue of self censorship. He speaks of a time when he was publisher of the “Express” newspaper during the Black Power demonstrations in Trinidad. When the protests turned violent he made the decision on behalf of the entire media house to not publish a story which would have revealed the small size of the military guard who protected a very important government outpost. He decided, on behalf of the entire “Express” newspaper to censor the story to avoid further conflict in the society. Whilst this succeeded he also succeeded in taking away a significant amount of respect for the democratic nature of the media house. Marxist sociologists Marx and Engels in their book “The German Ideology” are quoted as saying “The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.”[2] This statement is further explained in terms of media by Dr. Daniel Chandler stating “the mass media functioned to produce 'false consciousness' in the working-classes… media products are seen as monolithic...
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