Do the advantages of Mass Media outweigh the disadvantages?
Mass media refers collectively to all the media technologies that are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. There are various forms of mass media such as radio, television, movies, magazines, newspapers and the World Wide Web. Mass Media enjoys a very prominent role in our lives and thus, it is believed to influence our society. There are positive and negative effects of mass media on our society. This essay will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of mass media and state if the advantage or disadvantage outweighs the other.
The first advantage of mass media is that it promotes democracy. Talk shows and debates that are conducted on the radio gives people chance to voice out their opinions and express their views of ideas about a particular issue. This use of radios makes it a “free market place of ideas” where people get informed of the multiple ideas that can be learned about a topic. Also this advantage of mass media allows arguments to be otherwise of the discussed perspective of an issue to voice out the contrasting feelings of people without the fear of being pointed to by the authorities if opinions are subjective. Moreover, free press keeps the government under constant monitoring and checks. It helps the general public to question issues that highlight policy failures, maladministration, scandals and corruptions and this makes mass media the voice of the disadvantaged. A long tradition of liberal theorists claimed that a free and independent press within a nation can play a vital role in the process of democratization by contributing towards the right of expression, thought and conscience, strengthening the responsiveness of government to all citizens and providing a pluralist platform of political expression for a multiplicity of groups. Thus, radio being an example shows the positive relationship between mass media and democracy.
Furthermore, mass media promotes health education. A way in which societies can grow is through good health and studies assert that media has a responsibility to help people live a healthy life. In Uganda, for instance, FM radios conducted programs where medical doctors were invited to a program to talk about general or specific diseases, their causes, symptoms and how to avoid these diseases or where to seek treatment. Namely, Radio-Wa conducted a program, Meet The Doctor, on which a doctor from Lira Hospital appeared every Sunday from 5.00 pm and discussed popular medical issues, such as, current health problems of reproductive health diseases and sexually transmitted diseases, for about an hour. Through another research, it was found that radio listeners took active part in these kinds of programs and they were able to learn about many diseases that they were suffering from unknowingly. Majority of the listeners were able to cure their diseases. Thus, mass media assists people to keep informed about medical and health issues.
In addition, mass media plays a very vital role in accounting for agricultural trade. Radio, one of the fastest forms of mass communication, has been used in communicating farm information to farmers for a long time and since then radio has been used as a mass communication for agricultural development. Rural communities need information on supply of input, early warning systems for drought and diseases, new technologies and market price and information about their competitors. Such information through mass media contributes to the expansion of agriculture. After looking at factor such as the continuing expansion of market oriented agriculture and the increasing complexity of input requirements, studies suggested that there is a need for a continues education of farmers and extensions and thus concluded that radios and television would be a good way to disseminate information to them. Another research showed that 58 % of the respondents regarded radio as the most...
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