Through the media, a communication is usually able to reach and influence the people in various ways. Media usually acts as the information source through which the issues presented to the people includes the information available locally, regionally and at the global level. Therefore, the confidence of the people can either be built by the media while at the same time mistrust can be promoted by the media on issue that relates to the national security. The media significance can hence be witnessed in the crises that persist at the national level. Therefore, for the purpose of the moral dominance and clear stance projection, the media is usually perceived to be desperately required by the government. This essay analyses the roles of the media in the national security policy and a conclusion is drawn based on the findings.
Understanding the media role
In the modern era, the media has been perceived to be a very important tool. It is usually viewed to be the fourth estate through which the goals, interests and objectives of the state can be advanced. The impacts of media dynamics have however been quite different and in various countries, there have been variations and diversifications. For example, looking at the context of the security relations of the Indo- Pakistan, the approach that has been taken by the media has been nationalistic through which the national interest has been pushed and forwarded (Hussain, 2008). Regardless of the integrity and independence compromise, the state has used the media in the promotion of the national cause at an expense of acrimony and hatred germination.
In the strategic contemporary environment, there basically exists a very strong connection between media and politics. This has caused transformation of the earlier media role which has been perceived to be the source of information between the state and the people; a role that also continues to widen. Now the media is shaping the environment in which the political actors are working in. The people and leaders perception is usually shaped by the media and based on these perceptions; the policies are usually formulated by the political actors. There can however be no independence of the media, whose working is either under the pressure that is usually imposed by the laws or under a financer influence, based on the fact that media has in the modern world become an industry for making money (Hussain, 2008). Basically, the relationship with the states predominantly determines the media role. There are three theories with this regard: (1), In the system of the authoritarian, the media is usually controlled by the government in power. In the state, the media purpose is basically aimed at supporting and advancing the policies of the government together with serving the state (2), the media ownership in the libertarian system goes to anyone whose economic means allows him to do so. In this case, the media three purposes are informing, discovering the truth and the governing accountability (Fred, 1996) (3), The control of the media in the responsibility system usually goes to anyone with the desire to express some thing, which is usually perceived as the mature form of the media. Informing, entertaining, and selling are usually the major responsibilities here in addition to reduction of the conflict to a level where there can be a discussion. This in other words means exposing the trouble spots (Hussain, 2008).
The media has since 1980s emerged to have a potential of acting in politics. This has not only pushed the globalization process but in addition, it has summarized the politics at the international level. In the contemporary global environment, the major resource has been information. This information has been received in the media which has therefore made it to have the potential to spread its influence at the global level through which changes may be brought to the structure.
Although the media role has been positive at the national level, some major actors at the state level have used the media as the source of bias in which their own interests have been promoted which has resulted in changes being brought to the already existing system. Just like the “CNN factor”, which was a famous term used during the cold war, there has currently been the use of the media and other resources of information in the state agenda promotion. A close cooperation between the media and the US administration has been analyzed by Nency (1999), as well as the resulting time cultural environment that was produced. Through the utilization of the media, the US was able embarrass the former USSR in a strategy through which the economic decay was highlighted in the communist bloc. The media has as a result become American tool in the global agenda through which the rest of the world is influenced for its strategic interest promotion.
Media needs to be restricted from mechanisms that results in bias. This restriction should be aimed at ensuring that the media establishes people’s account that is balanced. Through the media, the public is educated and kept informed on issues related to the state together with other realities in human beings that happen in day to day’s life. Through the media, the trouble spots are usually highlighted in addition to pressing the public and the state to have mechanisms through which these troubles can be eliminated. At the state level, the media responsibility is usually aimed at establishing a connection between the people and the state.
Through the media role as a checkpoint, it ensures that the state operations are within the required mandate. The globalization effect has however widened the media responsibility which has then been required to play the pursuing and preserving role for the states national interest. Through the media involvement, the international relations conducts have been examined with results in the trouble spots being highlighted.
In Weisenhaus (2008), Dayan Ilana who is a media anchor highlights that in a democratic society, the press role is not usually based on taking consideration of the national security neither is it restricted to national policy implementation or being patriotic. This media anchor stresses on the need of the media expressing aggressiveness, skepticism, suspense and hostility to the government. Supporting the government essential tripod, the legislative, the executive and judiciary is perceived to be the fourth pillar by Dayan, with the media sometimes being referred to as the fourth estate (Weisenhaus, 2008)
In the modern world, the electronic media has been perceived to be the media outlet with the strongest motivation power. The electronic media have included the television, radio and online media (you tube). Generally the other different type of the media includes the newspapers, magazines, news stations, blogs and newsletters. Due to the electronic media unique coverage aspect, the media has been aimed at effectively expanding and promoting the awareness on the security to the people. The print media has also been very popular while in most cases being perceived to be highly patriotic (Weisenhaus, 2008).
In the modern world which has been characterized with revolution of the information, the media has been indentified as a tool with the strongest influence in the national interest and policies persuasion. The enhanced media is basically needed desperately by the state in their effort of supporting the projecting of the moral dominance. When the news stories and headlines are analysed, the print media has in most cases been found to be highly patriotic. The media control has been seen to be very essential in relation to the fact that it has the ability to either promote the national security or result in disruption of the prevailing peaceful situation in other cases. The various highly ranked factors have also been perceived to influence the media decision, which has in most cases resulted in media bias in which the information conveyed to the public is based on the individual interest. This is what makes the role of the media to be perceived as very critical. However, the importance of the media cannot be undermined and as the states continues to progress, the role of the media in the promotion of the national security is perceived to be very essential. Therefore, based on this understanding, it is important tot note that the role of the media cannot be undermined and what the state has to do is to restrict their freedom while at the same time ensuring that there are no cases bias in the media.
Fred S. S., Theodore P. and Wilbur S., Four Theories of Press: The Authoritarian, Libertarian, Social Responsibility and Soviet Communist Concepts of What the Press Should Be and Do, Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1996.
Hussain, N., ‘Role of Media in Internal Security’, Journal of Political Science, University of the Punjab, Issue XIII, Spring 2008.
Nency E. Bernhard, US Television News and Cold War Propaganda 1947-1960: A Guide Book for what is to come? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Weisenhaus, D., ‘Media and Politics: Roles and Responsibilities’, 2008, available at www.jrnsc.hku.hk
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