According to the journalist Thomas Carlyle “Media is often called the fifth branch of governments After the Congress, the President, the Supreme Court, and the federal bureaucracy, saying that no other institution has such an impact on governments as the media has”. Well I think I have to agree with Thomas even though the media members are not elected by the people and its motives are often driven by profit. When we listen or hear the media we tend to believe it because we assume they have done some research and the information we are receiving is true. But media sometimes takes sides for example in the Colombian recent elections the media played a key role in influencing the public vote, since the two main channels in Colombia are owned by wealthy families that preferred Juan Manuel Santos over the other candidates I would probably have to say that is why we saw more propaganda for Santos than for Mockus or any other candidate and also favoritism from the two channels. Media also plays a crucial role in shaping a democracy, democracy being the art of how states related with each other used to be secret but now thanks to media is very public and the government doesn’t have its privacy like it used to. Nevertheless, the media can also be good since it makes us aware of various social, political and economical activities happening around us. The media in Latin America has evolved and become more active over the time that is why the modern media reminds politicians about their unfulfilled promises and relations with other countries they promised during elections. For example the Colombian media, when it comes to the war with the guerrilla they cover what politicians do not want us to see because it may be too grotesque and make the population scared, maybe the politicians are right in not lettings us see such grotesque pictures but I think is also important to know what is also happening in the country you live in and most importantly in the world.
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Television allows us to see live the major political events in fact Television has become so important that is the major platform of communication between political figures and the citizens. Television plays an important role in political socialization, helping both children and adults to acquire knowledge about the political system and how it operates. This type of media has allowed nations economies to rise at unprecedented levels, also accelerating the urbanization trend and lastly it has also influenced the high schools and universities to pour millions of graduates every year. Television with the help of the radio has increased the number of voters for presidential elections since together they have reached less educated and less involved sections of the population. Nowadays we can say that the main role of television is to be a watchdog on government actions since they exercised the greatest influence on governments by pressuring them, in other words television is the bridge between the people and the government. But television also has its down sides for example the Latin American society has suffered a crisis of confidence of governmental private documents going public, Due to this Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez has entered to control what journalists are allowed to say in Venezuela’s television, He is also controlling the access to the internet keeping the people from Venezuela informed in only what he thinks is good for them to know.
Another type of media is the newspaper when I say newspaper I am also referring to magazines like semana. An essential function of the newspaper is to bring us news of all around the world, without newspapers we would be like a baby who knows nothing of the outside world. Newspapers keep citizens informed about the political activities of their governments, they give in detail the statements and the speeches made by presidents or other political figures at public meetings or congresses. Newspapers now a days due to their freedom of speech criticize governments on what they do wrong and advice them. They also describe the economic policies of the government for example they describe its import and export policies, its economic development, and the prices of different things to keep people aware. Newspapers gives the same information as television does, the only difference is that is more detailed and specific. Newspapers also describe the problems of unemployment, farmers struggle with the guerrilla. Newspapers also convey information regarding the different crimes taking place every day they inform us about the political, economic and social changes occurring everyday in different countries, They give descriptions of the revolutions in different parts of the world, they provide descriptions of changes taking place in other societies in the fields of education, agriculture and a country defense preparation for war. But not everything is news they also have a space to relax with great comics and crossword puzzles.
In the recent years the Internet has not replaced the influence of newspapers, radio, or television. However the internet has an advantage over the older media types since The Internet is an interactive medium that allows citizens to send information as well as receive it in real time, something that television and newspapers don’t allow. In Colombia’s latest election the presidential candidates were able to developed web sites to support their campaigns. They also developed groups in facebook, twitter and many other websites, by this new form of communication presidential candidates were able to reach new audiences on the World Wide Web, creating the potential for an even greater influence in society. We could say that the key word for the Internet and politics is power. The 2010 Colombian presidential campaign demonstrated the power of the Internet to raise funds for candidates by collecting contributions via the Websites, That’s why I say don’t be surprise next time the presidential candidate debates are via chat rooms. Among the main internet users are the young adults maybe this is a reason why it has become so important since we are the leaders of tomorrow. The internet serves many functions to society some of them are that is serves as virtual community, information source, employment portal for jobseekers, research center, discussion forum, and entertainment center, among others. The internet brings together buyers and sellers and facilitates the flow of information, making it a key driver of trade. It also has some benefits like doing fast business gathering new ideas but the internet is not as great as it sounds it also has some limitations like the hackers or the privacy control problems we are facing right now I guess we will just have to wait and for the solutions.
The last type of media we are going to analyze is the radio since it’s the oldest one with the most advantages. The most important advantage that radio offers is its ability to reach specific audiences through specialized programming. Radio can be adapted for different parts of the country and can reach people at different times of the day, For example radio is the ideal media for reaching people driving. When the radio first appeared it gave great potential for improving living conditions in the rural areas in Latin America. It is the most universal mass communication medium and is presently the cheapest type of media. Radio has also some effects in society the Excessive coverage of sensitive and violent news has led to communal riots at times in the case of Colombia the “sindicatos” when they found out about plan Colombia they formed a riot to stop the trade agreement of Colombia with the united states since they were going to be damaged by it. The constant repetition of news especially the violent ones can have major impacts especially on kids and make them repeat what they see for example if kids see a shooting they might be tempted to buy a gun and shoot their friends I know it’s a bit exaggerated but it’s just an illustration of how much power the media has on society as a whole.The media also plays a role in international political affairs as well, For example when Colombia’s government invaded Raul Reyes Camp people were all for it they were proud of the Colombian soldiers but when the internet and television stations started showing the other countries reactions a lot of people gave their back to the Colombian government saying they dint respected their neighbors and that they were disappointed on Colombia even though Colombia had already apologize to Ecuador. Radio and the other types of media also play an important role in war, in other words war is good for the media business because despite the excessive costs of sending correspondents for coverage, using expensive satellite equipment and airtime, war is precisely the type of event on which the media earns most of their money. A lot of the times the information is transformed and converted to be more dramatic that is why we should work with the media to help them focus in peace agreements and not so much in yellow news.
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In conclusion the Medias specific role in politics and society is informing us through persuasion always trying to influence us in our decisions. That is why media should have more clearly defined restrictions as to what they can write or cannot write. The media should be obligated to tell the truth and not manufacture or elaborate stories, even if it does not sound as good. Even though most of the television news stations are owned by wealthy individuals, they should not be so biased. The media and the politicians only want us to see what a perfect world we live in, so they tend to hide the truth or work their way around it. We can also conclude that the media has positive and negative things and that is good to read, listen or see the news but most importantly what I recommend is not to believe everything they tell us because they always come with a twist so just make your own decisions based on what you believe in and not letting yourself be influenced by anything. Through this essay we also saw the different types of media and their roles and how in the future the internet is going to be the most important type of media since it allows us to send information and receive information. Finally I recommend to the media to focus a little bit more in peace coverage’s than on violent news even though they sell better.
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