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Media is Important for Democracy

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218 The Role of Mass Media
       • Powerful people who  "act behind the scenes" often do so for their own benefit. Or for friends, family, or groups they support. 
       • It is easier to be honest and to work for the common good (what is good for most people) under the watchful eyes of the mass media (as in Sweden today). Sure enough, Sweden is one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
       • The 3 Roles of Mass Media:


  · Give impartial information
   (No one's opinions or values influence how news is reported).


  · Scrutinise (study carefully) the powerful


  · Entertain

       • Impartial? Despite contant attemps, journalists don't manage to present the news completely objectively, without bais. The owner's, editor's, and journalist's way of looking at the world may influence a news story. As do those who have something to sell.

       • Scrutiny of the powerful can be very uncomfortable for the powers that be. Example: When Mr F was a teen (year 1974), US President Nixon had to resign after journalists at the Washington Post revealed that he had committed a very serious crime. He had violated (gone against), USA's constitution. 

â–º Which 3 roles does mass media have?

â–º Journalists are to present news objectively. Despite that, their values colour the news. Why?

219 The Power of the Media
       • Do the media have too much power? Critics call newspapers, radio, and TV the "third pillar of government." (1st & 2nd are the government/administration and the parliament). The difference is that politicians can be voted out next time there is an election. So, is it a big problem that journalists can easily get attention? Perhaps not so big a problem. After all, the various media outlets (newspapers, TV & radio stations etc.) hardly speak with one voice. There are many channels for communication, not least online. 

â–º Newspapers, radio & TV are sometimes called "the third pillar of government". What does that refer to?

â–º Why is it important for democracy that there are many different newspapers and many different radio and TV stations to choose among?