Role of Media in Nations Building

Topics: Mass media, Democracy, Journalism Pages: 10 (3046 words) Published: June 21, 2013
Presentation to “National Dialogue on Media Development”

By Brig Gen Richard Rutatina
(Jtcc, psc, fwc, MB,ChB,(MUK), MA, Intern.Affrs.(U.of Gha.), MSC, Strat.Studies.(Ibadan), MSC, Glob.Secty.(Cranfield)

Defence and security Advisor

Nation building an on-going process for any country, not limited to the developing countries or post-conflict and post-colonial countries. An imperative for all countries that need to survive and gain prominence in the community of nations.  While nation building is guided and directed by the political leadership, various actors contribute significantly to the process of nation building. Media is one of the major actors which contribute enormously to the exercise of nation building.  The media can however, if misguided or obsessed with selfish or partisan interests, can destroy nations.

This paper will examine the role of the media in
Nation building.
Scope. a. Roles and functions of the Media b. The concept Nation building c. The role of media in Nation building (i). Media and national interests. (ii). Media and National security. (iii). Media and national development. (iv). Media and democratic governance. d. Media deviations from its core functions. e. Conclusion

Roles and Functions of the Media
Media refer to a collective entity of newspapers, magazines, radio, films, television and the international network (Internet).

The media is a messenger, and has target audience. The core function of the media is to represent and defend the public interests.

Media as watch dog Key assumption of the media as watchdog is that they speak for the people, represent the interests of the people, and serve as checks on the government Schuepp identifies the responsibilities of a watchdog, thus A watchdog has to protect his owner, give him security and

react to possible outside interference with the rights of his owner. The watchdog has to know his loyalties therefore the media have to be loyal to the society, because they are the watchdog of society and not of government. Anybody who threatens democracy, freedom of speech, the basic rights of the people, should be attacked by the watchdog.

According to Kovach, watchdog journalism at its best helps alert a community to changing circumstances affecting their lives

Media as Agenda Setter  Agenda setting is one of the most important roles of the media. It is defined as the process whereby the media determine what we think and worry about. the public reacts not to actual events, but to the pictures in our head. The concept of agenda setting is for the press to selectively choose what we see or hear in the media. agenda setting is a relational concept that specifies a transfer of salience from agenda primers (media) to agenda adopters (consumers).” The power of the news media to set a nation’s agenda, to focus public attention on few key public issues, is an immense and well-documented influence.

Media as Gatekeeper.  Gate keeping has been defined as the controlling of a strategic portion of a channel, so as to have the power of decision over whether whatever is flowing through that channel will enter the group or not. it involves a series of checkpoints that the news has to pass through before it gets to the public. Gatekeepers of the media are message filters, and they include reporters, writers, editors, producers and even government officials. The concept involves every aspect of message selection, handling and control.

Media as Force Multiplier.  The media have force multiplying effects, especially during war.  It means a force that adds to the combat effectiveness of military commanders. Since information is power, the media can be a potent force multiplier by their ability to mould national and international opinion. the media can be a strategic enabler in a number of ways including; To communicate the objective and...
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