Do Media Undermine Democracy?

Topics: Democracy, Broadcasting, Government Pages: 6 (1885 words) Published: June 15, 2009
1. Introduction
Nowadays, we all know the media. We think we cannot live without a television, because it gives you the feeling of missing essential information. A paper cannot substitute this information, but can only work in a complement way to it, because it is not updated every hour or even minute. Both methods of keeping in touch with information are part of the media. The question is whether the media does undermine the democracy. Are other persons deciding on what you got to see and hear or are you able to make your own choices? Therefore, the main subject will be the democracy standard of the media and when media is undermining the democracy and when not. 2. The beginning of the media

It all started in 1877, with the invention of the Cylinder Phonograph by Thomas Edison (Library of Congress (n.d.). He invented this machine, briefly called Phonograph, while he was working on several improvements to the former inventions such as the telephone and telegraph. Through this newly developed instrument, it became possible to record and play back audio fragments with the same machine. It is logical that this invention led to loads of new instruments to record and play both audio and video. On the other hand, print making was already invented in the prehistory by cave art and engraving on different object such as stones, bones and cave walls. There is a lot of discussion about the precious dates and inventions that have lead to what we call ‘the media’ at the moment. The first question that naturally arises is ‘what is media?’ exactly? Therefore, the meaning of media directly derived from the Longman Dictionary: “Media are all the organizations, such as television, radio, and newspapers that provide news and information for the public, or the people who do this work”. Media is organized by different organizations which function as source of information. The concerning mediums are television, internet, papers, tabloids, magazines, radio, cinema, e-mail, chat rooms, advertisements and so on. All these mediums do have the same purpose, namely the providing of information to the public. 3. Objectivity of media

Media often claims to be objective, but is this the reality? In my opinion, the media is not fully objective and this will be explained further through the use of an example. In the Netherlands, there are different broadcasting channels for the medium of television with their own entire news program. Nederland 1 (a public channel) has the news program ‘NOS Journaal’ and on the other hand, SBS 6 (a private channel) has the news program ‘Hart van Nederland’. If you watch both programs, you will see some differences directly without listening. Nederland 1 has a more old-fashioned presentation, a formal dressed man or woman who takes the message seriously. However SBS 6 does have the intention to bring the same message, there is less formality which is visible in the dressing and smiling of the newsreader. The headlines of the content of the news story are the same, but the message is delivered in a different way. I would like to give the example of the elections in the USA. Last night, on 4 November 2008, Barack Obama became president of the USA which is a huge change in the history of the USA. All countries in the world were involved with these elections, including the Netherlands. By checking the websites of both news programs, total different information is provided about the result of the elections. The first one, the NOS Journaal focuses attention on the reaction of McCain and on the support of the House of Deputies and support of the Senate. The other one, Hart van Nederland is focused on the reactions in the Netherlands, by posting a message about a Dutch school which voted for the elections during a special school voting project. In fact, the main message about the winning participant is the same, but the news is brought through a different view. Of course, the broadcasting channels are dealing in a different...

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NOS (5 November 2008)
SBS Broadcasting (5 November 2008). Hart van Nederland: Scholieren kiezen massaal voor
Barack Obama
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Wikipedia (10 October 2008). Media - communication. Retrieved on 4 November 2008, from
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