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Role of Media in Modern Society

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Role of Media in Modern Society

There are many different ways in which people communicate such as, through the phone, through personal encounters, and by attending work place, school, seminars etc. Though media is not the only communication medium used to dispense the flow of information, its importance in developed countries is worth mentioning as it has been the main source to inform people on political issues or current affairs as well as being as the main source of entertainment. The flow of information from one geographical location to another has increased in speed considerably with the advent in digitally enabled communication devices. Different network channels over cable or satellite TV, newspapers and radio channels are emerging at a very rapid pace providing the people with a medium to connect themselves with the outside world. Print media has always been a dominant medium throughout the decades in the western civilization, but it is the emergence of the television which has become the backbone of the global commercial development. Television contains the ability to produce multimedia content and thus has the immense power to change an individual’s perception of reality. It is of no wonder that in order to believe in something, one has to have complete faith in the source of information. This source of information could be ranging from one person to any academic institution. However in today’s connected society it is the media, which has become the main source of information The role media is playing as being the main source of information is a controversial issue. It is being debated what are the media functions in a society and what are its impact on an individual. The term media is a general term which is not restricted to a particular entity but in order to understand the term “commercial media”, the US provides the best platform for critically analyzing the role of media in a society. Regardless of what type of sources of media are analyzed from newspapers to network channels, media’s role in society is to reflect the interests of the elites and those who possess the power in a capitalist society like United States in order to maintain the status quo of a politically stable society.

Since the early 1980s the national media industries experienced a dramatic restructuring, the trend of deregulation and privatization in the media industry gave birth to “commercial media market”. The control of the media saw a shift into the hands of private ownership from public ownership. “Public ownership is devoted to providing communications as a public service. On the other hand private ownership is devoted to providing communications for profit”(Mass communication in Canada-pg.206). The role of “public sphere” has played a very important role towards the formation of a democratic society providing “places and forums where issues of importance to a political community are discussed and debated, and where information is presented that is essential to citizen participation in community life”(Global media-pg.3). BBC is a good example which symbolizes the best of public broadcasting until 1996 when the channel decided that it’s survival depends on commercial programming. In United States, a defining moment in the restructuring of the media industry came after the appointment of Ronald Regan as the new President. Regan’s policies were mainly focused on issues such as cutting the government spending on social welfare programs and stimulating the establishment of a true capitalist society. An era of deregulation and privatization started with the enormous growth in the power of the corporate culture of dominating the “concentration” of power in the hands of the business culture. Social welfare programs were being cut and private sector was handed over the responsibility to provide services to the public. Furthermore, the sophistication in communications and the ability of the private sector to invest money in this growing industry saw the development of a, “global media system dominated by three or four dozens large transnational corporations(TNCs), with fewer than ten mostly US-based media conglomerates towering over the global market”(Global media-pg.1). The private ownership of media is one of the defining features of the corporate capitalism which “rest on ownership control and therefore will tend to represent a narrow class interest; and because of increasing economies of scale and scope, as well as other benefits of large size, media ownership tends to become more concentrated over time, aligning the media more closely with larger corporate interests”(Global media-pg.6). Not only that the privately owned media tends to concentrate the power in the hands of the owner but also it “depends on advertising revenue and must therefore compete for advertising revenue and must therefore compete for advertiser attention and serve advertiser interests to prosper”(Global

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