Media culture focuses on investigating factors or processes that shape today’s world. With the rapidly evolving technology and the changing times, media culture plays a significant role in addressing some global emergencies such as climate, health, and structural inequalities. The reason is that the media can reach a broad audience and is instant. Today, the climate is a big global crisis that significantly affects political, economic, and social lives worldwide. More so, the media is also playing a big role in addressing structural inequality.
Structural inequality refers to the situation where certain privileges are not provided equally to all social groups or all institutions. Allocation of resources such as health is biased, which means that some groups or some institutions have more advantages than other groups.
Another factor that the media has had an impact on is the health sector. The World Health Organization has highlighted several health emergencies that should be prioritized and insists on the importance of public health (Anderson et al., 2012). This paper will focus on these three factors and evaluate how media culture has helped address these emergencies.
The media has greatly helped in sensitization on matters of climate change. This has affected the public’s opinion on the climate crisis that the global continent is facing. Without a doubt, the media is at the center of fighting climate change. It has helped raise awareness and bring to an understanding of the environment or climatic changes encouraging friendly environmental behavior (Anderson, 2017). With the media providing informative information about climate change, policymakers can make the right decisions and take the appropriate steps to handle this emergency.
Additionally, media culture helps provide a translation of information given by scientists and activists to the general public in a more understandable way. On the other hand, the media has helped people understand their rights by holding the people in power accountable for the climate crisis. This has led to media personalities interviewing government officials on what they have done in order to combat the crisis.
Such questions or interviews with politicians allow the public to evaluate the government’s initiatives and decide whether they chose the right leaders. Finally, the media emphasizes and airs the impacts of climate change and how they affect human beings. For example, by covering news of areas in which people have been swept away by floods, the media sensitizes people on the need to be more cautious and take more care of the environment to reduce climate change impacts
Media Culture and Society
The significant role of media in the health sector cannot be disputed. The media has played a huge role in ensuring that the public is well-educated on health issues. Media has been the biggest catalyst to help promote healthcare. For example, during the Coronavirus, pandemic media has been the Primary educator on rules and regulations that need to be followed to avoid contracting the disease.
Besides, it also helps bring together different partnerships, private sectors, non-governmental organizations, volunteers, and professional organizations worldwide to solve a certain health crisis (Moorhead et al., 2013). For example, it has brought together different stakeholders from different countries in an effort to find a vaccine for coronavirus disease.
Additionally, the media has also helped health workers reach disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Health workers can also keep the public updated about certain immunizations or offer guidance on measures that should be taken on emergency health complications. Apart from just education, the media also informs the public about the general health situation worldwide
It is the media’s role to provide correct statistics and correct information on the number of people infected by a certain disease or the people who are more vulnerable to infection. The media should also inform the public about geographical areas that have been affected or are more likely to be affected by a certain disease.
The fairly widespread inequalities have posed a question and need for concern as they are a potential threat for social disruption. As a result, the media has come up to play a crucial part in making the public aware of their rights and addressing inequality issues. Search inequalities include education inequality, health inequalities, ethnic inequalities, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and employment discrimination (Childress & Nault, 2019). Such discrimination has led to conflict and violence in the past few years. Entertainment, politics, and news media all influence the public’s opinion on inequality.
Awareness of Media Culture
However, while the media has been used to promote awareness about inequalities, it has also been at the center in promoting inequality. This is majorly because most of these media channels are owned by private individuals. The channels mostly release news based on their customers or where they are located, which means that they will definitely want to give their consumers what they like to hear.
Sometimes political members even bribe the media to hide relevant information that could have been useful to the public. For example, in the case of employment, employers may employ only their family members and collaborate with the media to avoid exposing the employed list to the public. This is clear evidence that rich people or relatively high-class people have the power to manipulate information that is released to the media.
In conclusion, it is without a doubt that media plays an integral part in emergency response. On the media, it is easy to influence the public, mobilize the public, raise funds, and hold campaigns to manage an emergency. This is because it reaches information fast to the people who need it most. With advanced technology, media culture has the ability to manage emergencies, unlike in ancient times when there was no internet or technology. Nevertheless, government and media organizations deem to improve the dissemination of information. It is their role to ensure that the news released is accurate, responsible, and reliable.
Anderson, A. A. (2017). Effects of social media culture use on climate change opinion, knowledge, and behavior. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science.
Anderson, P. D., Suter, R. E., Mulligan, T., Bodiwala, G., Razzak, J. A., Mock, C., & International Federation for Emergency Medicine. (2012). World Health Assembly Resolution 60.22 and its importance as a health care policy tool for improving emergency care access and availability globally. Annals of emergency medicine, 60(1), 35-44.
Childress, C., & Nault, J. F. (2019). Encultured Biases: The Role of Products in Pathways to Inequality. American Sociological Review, 84(1), 115-141.
Moorhead, S. A., Hazlett, D. E., Harrison, L., Carroll, J. K., Irwin, A., & Hoving, C. (2013). A new dimension of health care: systematic review of the uses, benefits, and limitations of social media for health communication. Journal of medical Internet research, 15(4), e85.
Liberal Media – The role of Social Media in Fostering Social/Political Participation to Help Enhance Democracy
Liberal media democracy is a strong pillar for a free society. Democracy exists when citizens have the ability to practice their fundamental rights such as freedom of expression. The rise of social media has made it possible for people to express themselves more freely. Platforms such as Facebook, Skype, Twitter and Instagram have given their users the power to express themselves in a way that is cheap and easy to access. It has been immensely possible for people to convey their sentiments through these means which has greatly improved public opinion on governance. Social media unlike Liberal media allows for a two way communication means between the receiver and the sender.
Social media has influenced the political arena through opinion polls where citizens have an opportunity to present their views on politicians in a cheap easy way. Citizens also have the ability to express satisfaction or distaste towards their political leaders. This essay, therefore investigates the power of social media as a tool in supporting democracy especially through the idea of democratic deliberation, liberty and organization events.
Social Media Overview
The rapid growth of the social media in the 21st century has created a new trend on communication and information sharing which is significantly different from the traditional media known as the new media (Omede & Alebiosu, 2015. Pg. 272). Unlike the liberal media which requires expensive radio and television broadcasting systems, social media uses a different form of technology, the internet. Internet technology is relatively cheap and also subjected to less stringent regulation, and has no monopolistic ownership or control as it’s the case of the convection media (Coronel, 2003 pg. 1).Therefore, social media gives its users the liberty on the information that they can develop and share with each other. Also, it is widely accessible globally as more users are getting connected to the fast and reliable internet, hence making it a more efficient and effective approach in bringing people from different backgrounds and cultures together, when compared to liberal media. Currently, over two billion people worldwide have access to the internet (European Commission, 2011, pg. 5). Large social media sites with millions of users such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram among several blogs have also emerged which give users platforms which they interact and share information with each other through images, video and text formats.
These sites have also created an opportunity for users to participate in discussions and forums to express their views and ideas on matters related to democratic governance. In addition, people have also taken advantage of the new social media platforms to organize and facilitate political actions and events, all of which have a significant impact on democratic policies across different societies worldwide. Some social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have advanced functions that allow users to follow and interact with politicians and other prominent figures in the society and participate in their discussions in an interactive way. This has given social media a significant advantage over the liberal media, making it ideal to foster social/ political participation which is essential in enhancing democracy.
Thesis statement: Therefore, social media has arguably a huge contribution in promoting democratic values and policies in any society. However, scholars have expressed concern that the lack of control and regulation of the social media may pose a threat to democracy. This essay, therefore, provides supporting evidence that indeed social media is a powerful tool in supporting democracy especially through the idea of democratic deliberation, liberty and organization events.
Role of Social Media in Democratic Deliberation
Deliberation plays a critical role in decision making for a deliberative democracy. Social media offers the right tools that provide advanced tools and functions for millions of users to experience the principles of democratic deliberation which include equality, active participation, and self-determination (Miswardi, 2014, pg.3). Social media has introduced new communication tools such as images, video, and text which users use to communicate and engage with each other in contentious political actions, through cheap, fast and reliable internet technology. Social media platforms have the Capability to support two-way interactive communication for a large number of people, therefore providing a limitless pool of ideas which can be adopted to promote and influence democratic governance (Omede & Alebiosu, 2015. Pg. 272).
In addition, Social media has no middlemen like the case of the liberal media who may control, influence or change the content. Hence, the millions of users in the social media have an equal opportunity to share their contributions and views on the appropriate democratic policies which aren’t skewed for the authoritarian non-democratic regimes (Kaul, 2012. Pg. 2). Also, unlike the liberal media which is controlled by a few political elites who manipulate the media to their favor, social media offers millions of users from diverse backgrounds, both rich and poor an equal opportunity to participate and deliberate on extensive and wide political issues.
The liberal media only provides a one-way communication channel where the end user only receives information but has no opportunity to provide their views or feedback. Social media has revolutionized this communication channel to create a two-way interactive communication channel where the people have an opportunity to participate in deliberating appropriate democratic policies in their favor actively.Due to the emergence of large free social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram among several others, social media is relatively cheap for users to pass their feedback or contribution on current political issues when compared to passing the same information through the liberal media.
Using social media, the user does not require to undergo any form of professional journalism training is a reporter. The social media platforms provide their users with perfect tools for individual reporters which can still enable them to pass their information to other people or concerned authorities. There are several instances where people have used the social media to organize and coordinate successful revolutions to remove authoritarian regimes out of power such as during the Arab Spring in the Middle East (Unwin, 2014. Pg. 1). Therefore, in such cases, social media facilitates the communication between the citizens and respective representatives coordinating these revolutions. In addition to political revolutions, social media has also been used to put pressure and force the government authorities to act or respond to several instances affecting their citizens, bringing the power of millions of social media users to influence democratic policies.
Social media promotes self-determination to contribute to democratic governance among citizens participate in various democratic processes. Since the evolution of the social media, citizens have used social media to express their support for certain political parties or ideologies. Also, the number of people who participate in thedemocratic process has risen as more people learn the importance of participating in such processes through the social media (Unwin, 2014. Pg. 2).Also, people are more determined than before to share information promoting democratic leadership when compared to the past when they left this critical democratic role in the hands of a few elites who influence the liberal media. Therefore, such determination may not exist if only the liberal media exists in the society. The social media has also been used for survey purposes by Analysts, non-governmental organizations, social activists and other bodies to promote a democratic society (Kaul, 2012. Pg. 2). The social media is a useful tool to collect statistics on millions of users using the platform to form or influence policies that advance democratic agendas.
The Role of Social Media in Promoting Liberty
Liberty refers to the state of freedom that a citizen enjoys from the oppressing restrictions in one’s behaviors, lifestyle and political opinions. It is, therefore, one of the key components of a democratic society where citizens have the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association. As a new genre of media that allows people to socially network, share personal information and access the shared information, social media promotes liberty through some ways. First, it allows users to develop and exchange user-generated content, therefore promoting freedom of expression on matters relating to democratic governance (Omede & Alebiosu, 2015.pg. 273 & 274). The social media enables citizens to hold enhanced dialogues and share that information across some users on the social media platform.
The social media, therefore, eliminates the barriers such as regulation or restriction of content for ordinary citizens by the liberal media (Omede & Alebiosu, 2015.pg. 275).Also, it promotes free and open discussion among citizens which is one of the significant facilitators of democracy. Activists have also taken advantage of the social to utilize their freedom of expression, to rally ordinary citizens in demanding to effective democratic governance. Social media is a powerful tool for users to share not only information but also ideas and influence each other in the best form of democratic policies. In addition, its wide accessibility globally has given people the liberty to share and access information not only on the national and regional borders but also globally. This time and space liberty give people and advantage to learn what is going on in the world as far as the democracy is concerned and can use this information to influence better democratic governance policies in their individual countries. All this has been made possible because of the existence of an unbiased, cost-effective and unrestricted social media.
The Role of Social Media in the Election Process
In the 21st century, the influence of social media in elections has significantly increased. First, the social media gives the electorate the power to share their voice on their preferred leaders. With social media, each voter has an opportunity to share her opinion on the election process, which was possible with the liberal media as only a few elite controlled and influenced the election process using the power of the media. In addition, using social media, the collective views of the electorate can influence certain issues in an election process to promote a free and fair election, which is a center pillar of democracy.
The mainstream media has been labeled as based and used by the few to mislead the American public during the elections in the United States. According to Hatter, (2004, pg1), the liberal media has been widely biased towards the Democrats, which is labeled a threat to the free democracy. The United States media has always supported the Democratic candidates and influences the American electorate for the Democrats. According to Hatter, the liberal media has been interweaved into the Democratic Party, and with the power and influence of the media on the society, the people are denied the opportunity to make a free judgment on the candidates participating in an election. However, the social media has the power to correct the effects of a dishonest liberal media. As more people turn to social media, the electorate has access to unbiased information. In the last general election, the republican widely used social media to counter the effect of the biased liberal media against their presidential candidate.
However, despite its huge advantage over the biased liberal media in promoting democracy through a fair election process, the social media may create potential risk from the uprisings that result from supporters of different political action groups. For instance, the social media can be held highly responsible for the increasing rift between the democrats and republicans in the United States.
The social media is a powerful tool to improve the perception of the general population on matters relating to democracy. This is because content generated and shared through the social media is not regulated as the information passing through the liberal media, therefore eliminating the possibility of biases. Social media also has a great chance to educate the general population on the appropriate democratic policies as well as the election process, which will significantly promote a democratic society. One of the advantages of the social media is the low cost and wide accessibility especially as the number of people who are getting connected to a reliable and fast internet continues to increase. People, therefore, have the liberty to generate and share information using various trending social media platform. Therefore, social media has a significant contribution in promoting democracy.
Coronel, Sheila. “The role of the media in deepening democracy.” NGO Media Outreach: Using the (2003).
Hatter, J. “The Media Threat to Democracy.” 2013, p. 1. Accessed 4 May 2017.
Kaul, V. (2012). Are new media democratic? Global Media Journal, 5(1), 1-20.
Miswardi, Gideon. “Digital-Media-A-Double-Edged-Sword-for-Representative-Democracy.” International IDEA’s 20th century anniversary essay competition, 2014.
Omede, A.J, and Emmanuel A. Alebiosu. “SOCIAL MEDIA: A TREND OR THREAT TO DEMOCRACY?” Trans campus journal, ISSN 1596-8303, 2015.
Unwin, Tim. “Social media and democracy: Critical reflections.” background paper for Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (Colombo), Vol. 20. 2014.
If you enjoyed reading this post on liberal media democracy, I would be very grateful if you could help spread this knowledge by emailing this post to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you.
How free is the freedom of expression for the Turkish journalists in the Turkish press?
Dissertation Title: Press Freedom in Turkey. Freedom of the press is an invaluable part of a democratic society. Many liberal nations allow free exchange of information without restrictions. Over the recent years, a decline in press freedom was reported by international organizations in Turkey. Violation of international human rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights in Turkey is one of the prime reasons of investigation. In this research, twenty-two journalists were interviewed to extract information on the freedom of the press in Turkey. The data was analysed using triangulation. The results indicate a growing dissident of the journalists union in Turkey due to the lack of reporting freedom on critical issues such as politics, religion and terrorism. Reports also suggest a global backsliding of the government to fulfil its promises of democratizing the country. The findings of this paper match with the observations of international whistle-blower organizations such as Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The research performed in this paper helps to bridge the gap of understanding between media and the people of Turkey. The research highlights the effects of media bias on a society and presents recommendations to improve reporting freedom in Turkey.
The dissertation is written to conduct research among Turkish journalists and present the findings. The primary aim of the paper is to investigate the behavior of the government towards journalists in Turkey. This goal can be understood as the level of freedom, journalists have in writing what they want under observance of the Turkish press. Freedom of expression among journalists means that they are able to present the facts and figures without filtering any information and leaving it to the public to decide and create their own viewpoints. A comparative approach towards estimation of cases reported by international organizations and my personal observations, and field research with in-depth interviews and written interviews with journalists of the Turkish press will help to answer the hypothesis at the end of the research. Assuming that the challenges of working as an independent reporter in the Turkish press and media could have increased over the recent decade, the paper will present the findings in the later sections.
Apart from the primary question, researcher will form and present a list of secondary questions that create a strong case for the primary question and subsequent evaluation of the hypothesis. Secondary questions are developed to answer the primary question as they are more accessible and straightforward to analyze. The secondary questions are:
What is freedom of expression and why is it important and what entails it?
What is the current situation of Turkish journalists and how is the media landscape in Turkey evolving?
Are there any changes in the Turkish freedom of expression over in the last decade?
Are there sensitive topics to write about as journalists in Turkey and what are these topics?
What are the international rules and regulations when it comes to freedom of expression in the press?
Which legal sanctions are threatening freedom of expression and press freedom according to the Turkish penal codes?
What do international institutions and organizations say about freedom of press in Turkey?
What does Turkish journalist say about their own press freedom in Turkey?
Paparazzi, is the term refers to the annoying and persistent photographers who take embarrassing pictures of celebrities to earn some money. These people, not only target these celebrities, but also their other family members including their minor children who are often harassed as well. This madness should come to be considered a criminal activity as well and regulations should be enacted to place limits on their activities. The purpose of writing this research paper is to analyse the term Paparazzi, why they should be their behaviour should be considered wrong, and what should be done to limit their improper activities.
The term paparazzi was introduced into the public lexicon by the globally admired film ‘La Dolce Vita,’ which was directed by Federico Fellini, it concentrates on the life of a washed-up journalist, Marcello and his colleague who is a photographer, whose name is Paparazzo (Celant, 1994). As described by Fellini in his interview with Time magazine Paparazzo is an Italian word that refers to the irritating noise made by a buzzing insect, darting, stinging, and hovering. This character in the film is given a human-like bone structure, and somehow looks like a “vampirish insectile” (Celant, 1994). This image of the paparazzi in the film looks like a parasite, a mosquito as depicted from the following picture. By the end of 60s, the term paparazzi had entered into the public usage as a generic term in English language that simply meant an intrusive or interfering photographer (Wilton, 2007) and the individual being photographed is known as being ‘papped’.
According to Sonenshine (1997), Paparazzi refer probably to an independent contractor and are typically not affiliated with mainstream media companies. They take advantage of opportunities by taking pictures of the high-profile famous people they are observing constantly, whenever they get any sightings of them (Sonenshine, 1997). According to Wilton (2007), a paparazzo is a local clam, which is used as an implied comparison to the paparazzo that opens and closes the lens of camera (Wilton, 2007). Many of the experts consider the behaviour of these paparazzi to be similar to stalking (CNN, 2006), which is an act of obsessive or unwanted pursuit given by one person towards another.
Why Paparazzi is Considered Wrong?
Certain celebrities and high-profile public figures have expressed their concerns regarding their privacy and personal space and the extent to which these paparazzi try to interfere in their personal space (Dakss, 2005). According to Carnahan (2014), these insistent photographers (paparazzi) continuously stalk high-profile people and celebrities and bother them while they are eating, or shopping, etc. (Carnahan, 2014).
Some publicists believe that the paparazzi are just going out of control with their outlandish job of collecting most embarrassing pictures; they are making it difficult for their high-profile targets to live in their own personal space and have a normal life. Not just in films, but they live with the constant threat that they will have a camera always in their face (Papasmear, 2013). Sometimes, the extreme behaviour of these insane photographers has led to serious accidents faced by celebrities. As an instance, Lindsay Lohan’s famous accident in the year 2005 in which the actress was almost killed because the paparazzo intentionally drove into her car (Dakss, 2005). This shows that the extreme behaviour of the paparazzi has rapidly transformed into criminal activities.
Instead of this, they do not only target these celebrities, but also their family members that also include their minor children. Some celebrities complained about paparazzi harassing them by focusing on their minor children Furthermore, there must be some level of privacy given to them, particularly when it is the case of their family and most importantly, their minor children and their family (Papasmear, 2013). A survey by fanpop.com, also illustrates that 58% of the total population are against these annoying activities by the paparazzi (Fanpop). They can do practically anything to get a picture since they earn a lot of money for these photos. Just for the sake of earning some money (Nastec International, 2011), these people are stealing the right of privacy and freedom from these high-profile people and celebrities.
Carnahan (2014) further stated that celebrities and other high-profile people are also human beings and they deserve respect; and therefore, it is necessary to apply certain limitations to the paparazzi.
What Limitations Should Apply to Paparazzi?
The majority of people are against the paparazzi and since they are citizens who deserve the right to privacy and freedom just like everyone else, some countries are applying legal regulations, like anti-stalking bills to resolve the harassment issues faced by the high-profile people and celebrities. Some countries also restrict their activities by imposing curfews on them. For instance, California has approved a law in 2014, which will help in preventing these extreme people from misusing the privacy and from taking embarrassing photographs of the celebrities (Business Insider, 2014). Even after all such laws have been enacted, Nastec International (2011), noted that even after hard pressing the paparazzi with privacy laws for years, their activities are still on the rampage.
In order to limit these Paparazzi according to Nastec International (2001), a videotape or surveillance must be used to undercover such activity and these surveillance videotapes can later be provided as a proof in court against these annoying intrusive individuals.
These people can also be prevented to some extent by restricting them only to staged events. Although, it is not possible always to restrict them, because they can enter secretly as they are able to creep into the private places, like the homes of celebrities, but privacy can be maintained by only providing admission rights to celebrities and their families or the extremely important people and restricting rest of the people including, journalists, photographers, etc. One remedy to this can be that during the events special cards can be issued only for those are extremely important for the celebrities and to whom they personally want to invite to the event.
Moreover, celebrities can also limit improper activities of the Paparazzi through campaigning. If all celebrities would unite and do social media campaigning against the paparazzi, they can also do public campaigning programs to prevent these intrusive photographers and to get back their right of freedom and privacy.
Business Insider. (2014, September 30) California bans paparazzi drones.
Carnahan, S. (2014, April 3) Should Limitations Be Applied to the Paparazzi?
Celant, G. (1994) The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968. New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications.
CNN. (2006, May 14) Why paparazzi are wrong.
Dakss, B. (2005, June 10) Paparazzi Going Too Far?
Nastec International. (2011) FIGHTING THE PAPARAZZI.
Papasmear. (2013, May 15) Top Reasons Why the Paparazzi Are Wrong!
Sonenshine, T. (1997, October) Is Everyone a Journalist?
Similarities and Differences between the Media Systems of India and China
China and India are the two most populated countries in the world with over 30% of the entire world’s population. Both countries are currently undergoing massive transformations due to the implementation of liberal economic policies (O’Connor, 2007). The GDP growth rate in 2007 rose by 8.5% in India and 11.4% in China (CIA, 2008). “Nicholas D. Kristof, Beijing bureau chief (1988–93) of The New York Times, predicted in 1993 that ‘the rise of China, if it continues, may be the most important trend in the world for the next century’. Only five years into the new millennium, China has become the fourth largest economy in the world. Many believe China will eventually overtake the US around the mid-21st century” (Kristof, 1993, p. 59 cited in Cao, 2007, p. 431). India is projected by McKinsey “to become the world’s fifth-biggest consuming nation by 2025” (O’Connor, 2007). Both countries also have very long historical and cultural traditions that span thousands of years but the actual nation-states of both countries are quite young (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003).
The media landscapes of both countries are not immune to the effects of commercialization. There has been a shift away from state-run media towards private ownership. This process is currently more prevalent in India than in China because not all of India’s media is state-run. Another trend is the use of advertising by state-run monopolistic media. According to India-based researcher A. Joseph, “Media systems and structures have undergone dramatic transformations at both the global and the national level since the mid-1980’s” (Joseph, 2006, p. 18). The countries are also affected by technological changes including the shift to cable and satellite television broadcasting and the growth of the internet. British Media Researcher Margaret Gallagher wrote, “In Asia the media in many countries have recently seen a spectacular transformation with the arrival of new commercial cable and satellite channels, and the privatization of old state-run media has led to new market-oriented content” (Gallagher, 2000, quoted in Joseph, 2006).
This essay will outline and discuss the similarities and differences in the media systems of China and India. The first section will focus on the basic demographics of the countries and how they impact the media system. The research will then shift to the state’s control of the media. Then, the media’s role in the two countries will be compared. The next section will discuss the impact of modernization theory and globalization and the final section will be the conclusion.
First of all, it is important to consider the demographics of the countries in order to make a reasonable comparison between the two. China and India are the only two countries which have a population greater than a billion people. According to a July 2008 estimate by the CIA World Fact Book, India’s population will reach 1,147,995,898 and China’s population will reach 1,330,044,605 (CIA, 2008). India is made of 28 states and 7 union territories and China is made of 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and 4 municipalities (CIA, 2008). The government style is very important because the political economy of the country directly impacts the media system. India’s formal name is the Republic of India and it is a federal republic (CIA, 2008). The country became independent from British control in 1947 (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003). China is a Communist State and the formal name is the People’s Republic of China (CIA, 2008). The Chinese republic was founded in 1949 (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003).
Both countries have the difficult task of integrating diverse populations into one united nation-state. An example is the amount of languages spoken in both countries. Hindi and English are the two most popular languages in India. There are 15 other languages recognized in the constitution and also hundreds of different dialects (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003). According to the CIA World Factbook:
“English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; there are 21 other official languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanscrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language” (CIA, 2008).
In China, the major languages include “Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)” (CIA, 2008).
The State’s Control of Media Systems
Because China and India have two different government styles, their approach to media regulation is not the same. India has a ‘mixed economy’ which means that it is a mixture of public (state-run) and private ownership of media. Telecommunication and broadcasting is state-owned and the print media and film industry are private (Pashupati, et al, 2003). “The prerogative of investing in certain ‘core industries’, including telecommunication and broadcasting, was reserved exclusively for the state sector. On the other hand, ownership of the print media, as well as the film industry, remained largely in private hands, and the press in India has enjoyed considerable freedom from state control throughout the history of the republic” (Pashupati, et al, 2003, p. 256).
Because the Chinese government is Communist, all of the media is controlled by the state. The Chinese Communist Party controls all 358 television channels and over 2,000 newspapers (Esarey, 2006). The largest television network in mainland China is called CCTV which stands for Chinese Central Television and is a government agency controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (About CCTV International, 2005).
The Chinese press has developed into a distinctive pattern of a two-tier system after two decades of reform: the propaganda focused Party press and the market-oriented press as the commercial arm of the Party press. The former consists of the ‘traditional’ morning dailies run by the CCP propaganda departments, serving principally as the authoritative voice of the Party-state. The latter are largely reader-centered, fully commercialized newspapers controlled and sponsored by their parent Party organ press (Cao, 2007, p. 442).
The Central Propaganda Department of the Communist Party is in charge of keeping an eye on members of the media workforce and restricting the content of television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and film (Esarey, 2006). The most widely read newspaper in China is the People’s Daily which is “a key vehicle through which major government policies and Party ideological guidelines are promulgated” (Cao, 2007, p. 432).
The advertising industry has had an impact on both countries and originally initially both countries did not allow advertising at all. This changed in the late 1970’s-mid 1980’s. India’s Doordarshan network allowed soap operas which were sponsored by companies like Nestle and Colgate (Singhal and Rogers, 1989). The soap operas were a huge success and were very profitable and it became very common for the networks to accept advertising. Although the media is technically owned by the state in China, the government has become much more relaxed about allowing commercial advertising. In the past, the communist party funded all of the media. China’s CCTV began allowing paid advertising in 1979 and now almost all state media does not receive government subsidies and relies on commercial advertising for funding. Now, the funding comes from advertising and indirect ownership by private and collective businesses.
Media’s Function in Society
Both India and China are similar because the media serves a specific function in society which was originally set out by the governments of both countries. Because the Chinese Communist Party controls the media personnel and the content of the media, it is used as propaganda for the party and as a form of political communication (Esarey, 2006). “As an authoritarian society, China is characterized by a largely linear pattern of political communication. The political elite rules on the one hand with a centralized administrative machine with all its associated penal power; and on the other, a pervasive discursive campaign of propaganda to condition the public for uniform thinking” (Cao, 2007, p. 433). This is very clear in the four main tasks of the Chinese Television Industry:
To have a positive function for society by publicizing and explaining the policies of the Party and the government;
To offer a set of socio-moral standards based on Marxism-Leninism and Maoism and to encourage and educate the people of the entire nation to strive to create a socialist civilization that is both materially and culturally rich;
To help the Party and the government in the smooth running of the country and maintaining established social order and stability; and
To follow the Party’s and the government’s guidelines, and to prevent anti-Party and anti-government coverage” (Peng, 1987 quoted in Pashupati, K. et al, 2003, p. 258).
Also, the Chinese Communist Party closely monitors all internet usage by Chinese citizens and “access to politically threatening Internet sites and web logs is blocked; uncensored satellite television is not legally available to the general public; foreign radio broadcasts are scrambled; and the sale of publications” (Esarey, 2006, p. 2). The media in India does not seem to serve the same function at all. Instead, it is used to achieve the goal of improving the nation and educating and entertaining Indian citizens. According to the Doordarshan’s Citizen Charter, the India public service network agrees to do the following;
Inform freely, truthfully and objectively the citizens of India on all matters of public interest, national and international.
Promote social justice, national consciousness, national integration, communal harmony, and the upliftment of women.
Provide adequate coverage to sports and games.
Cater to the special needs of the youth.
Pay special attention to the fields of education, and spread of literacy, agriculture, rural development, environment, health and family welfare and science and technology. (Doordarshan, 2006)
Modernization and Globalization
The belief that the media can be used to educate citizens in order to improve a nation is embedded in Modernization Theory. Basically, Modernization theory believes that a country must become ‘modernized’ in order to achieve economic growth (Melkote, 1991). “Critics have argued that there is a pro-western bias inherent in the assumptions of this theory, because the notion of what is ‘modern’, and therefore ‘good’, is dictated primarily by western nations and values” (Pashupati, K. et al, 2003, p. 253). Globalization is very closely linked with modernization and is generally associated with “an acceleration of the spread of ‘Western-style’ modernization” (Thomas, 2005, p. 54). The theory ignores centuries of historical change and is used to describe the situations of massive economic growth in India and China while overlooking the fact that both countries were once massive, wealthy empires. Signs and symptoms of globalization process are very much in evidence within the Indian media context today: early stages of media concentration (including cross-media ownership), growing ascendancy of the profit motive, dilution of the public service role of the media, abuse of market power, translation of economic power into political power, promotion of certain ideologies and values (and devaluation of others), supremacy of ‘mainstream’ content, increase in formulaic content, neglect of the interests and concerns of individuals, communities and groups who do not figure in the priorities of the market, absence of ‘minority’ voices and views from public debates and discussions, decline in public discourse in terms of both seriousness and plurality, spread of a ‘culture of entertainment’, and so on. Commercial interests have apparently become the driving force of much of the country’s media, both public and private” (Joseph, 2006, p. 19).
Media critics McQuail and Siune believe that when the number of television channels increase that the channels become less public-service oriented and more concerned with profits because they are owned by large privately owned media conglomerates. Siune wrote “Public service monopolies, with national obligations, have disappeared, and the content has increasingly become internationalized and commercialized” (1998, p. 4-5).
India and China are very highly populated countries which both share the interesting combination of having long historical traditions and being young nation-states at the same time. Also, both countries are undergoing massive transformations due to implementations of liberal economic policies. India and China’s citizens all speak a variety of languages which can make it difficult to reach everyone in the nation.
Both countries use their media systems in order to have a direct social impact on its citizens although they have different goals. China’s Communist government directly controls all of the media and also uses it to spread propaganda. India is a federal republic and has a mixed system whereby telecommunication and broadcasting is state owned and the print media and film industry are privately owned. India’s media seems to serve the function of improving the nation, and educating and entertaining its citizens. The television broadcasting systems in both countries were previously all state-controlled and no commercial advertising was allowed but now they have relaxed their rules and allow commercial advertising.
About CCTV International. (2005)
CIA. (2008, May 01). The World Factbook
Cao, Q. (2007). Confucian Vision of a New World Order?: Culturalist Discourse, Foreign Policy and the Press in Contemporary China. The International Communication Gazette, 69 (5), 431–450.
Doordarshan. (2006). Citizen Charter
Esarey, F. (2006, February). Speak No Evil: Mass Media Control in Contemporary China.
Joseph, A., & Sharma, K. (2006). Whose News? The Media and Women’s Issues. New Delhi: SAGE.
McQuail, D. & Siune, K. (1998). Media Policy: Convergence, Concentration and Commerce. London: SAGE Publications.
Melkote, S. (1991) Media Systems and Communication for Development in the Third World: Theory and Practice.London: Sage.
O’Connor, A. (2007, December 01). Sharp-Eyed L’Oréal Gets Head Start in India. Media Systems – The Sunday Times.
Pashupati, K., Sun, H. L., and McDowell, S. D. (2003). Guardians of Culture, Development Communicators, or State Capitalists? Media Systems A comparative analysis of Indian and Chinese policy responses to Broadcast, Cable, and Satellite Television. Gazette: The International Journal for Communication Studies, 65 (3), 251-271.
Singhal, A. and E.M. Rogers (1989) India’s Information Revolution. Media Systems New Delhi: Sage.
Thomas, A. O. (2005). Media Systems, Imagi-nations and borderless television: Media, Culture and Politics Across Asia. London: SAGE.