• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Law & European Studies What role do the mass media play in the political process in constitutional democracies? Is this to be welcomed?

Extracts from this document...


Laura Barrie Law & European Studies What role do the mass media play in the political process in constitutional democracies? Is this to be welcomed? When the Polish Union leader Lech Walesa was asked what effect Radio Free Europe had had on Solidarity's activities in Communist Poland, he responded, "Would there be earth without the sun?" A spokesman for the democratic "No" opposition that upset the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in a plebiscite remarked, "In fifteen minutes of television time, we destroyed fifteen years of government publicity for the dictatorship." The Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin, stated that Tiananmen Square illustrated the "chaos" that will result "if the tools of public opinion are not tightly controlled in the hands of true Marxists." In an address at Harvard University, Alexander Solzhenitsyn declared that "the press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary."' Leaders of every nation, north and south, rich and poor, free and not free, acknowledge the power of the mass media to influence and shape the politics of their nation. ...read more.


Before the guns of August 1914 began, national leaders essentially depended upon personal couriers. Shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1920, diplomats and politicians began to realize that it was possible to communicate directly with the people through radio. Television broadcasting took a little longer, emerging after the Second World War. The coronation of the Queen initiated thousands of television set purchases in Britain; it was at this time that it too became part of the mass media. It has evolved to become the most powerful tool, for many viewers, television reality is the only reality. If television is not there to record and transmit, the demonstration did not happen, the candidate did not speak, the election did not occur. Due to its sheer power Governments have attempted to control television by various methods, some countries, like Israel and South Africa, have even attempted to do without television at all. Even traditional socialist countries such as Scandinavia, initially followed a policy of controlled television programming, believing that they knew best what people should watch. Even here in Britain television is still in some regards controlled. ...read more.


Governing parties, in particular, devote considerable attention to informing, cultivating and seeking to influence journalists whose reports achieve national coverage. The humble government press office, now populated by highly paid spin-doctors, has never been more important. With such an important role in today's society should they be more closely monitored to prevent unscrupulous stories or political coverage? Is there a need for more ethics in the mass media? Or does the mass media confront the truth and demand answers? Lincoln understood how essential the press is to politics and government commenting: 'with public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.' Given this power to affect success or failure, the standards and decisions of journalists warrant as much attention as those of lawyers physicians, business leaders, union leaders or academics. It will not suffice for journalists to promise fairness, balance and accountability. One must ask the question what philosophy is going to guide their fairness and sustain that accountability, not just to readers, viewers, peers and employers, but to society. Bibliograpy: Comparative Government & Politics Rod Hague & Martin Harrop. Mediapolitik Lee Edwards. Collected Works Of Abraham Lincoln vol.3 Rutgers University Press. How The Press Affects Federal Policy Making Martin Linsky. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Audience and Production Analysis section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Audience and Production Analysis essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the pluralist view of the mass media ...

    5 star(s)

    This makes it illegal for the information to be published or shared with anyone. This backs up the argument that the Government do control to a certain extent what information the British public have access to. Another argument against the pluralist view is that usually given by feminist groups.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    "The mass media today is part of everyday life" Using relevant theories and studies ...

    4 star(s)

    The hypodermic model is one way of looking at the technique used by mass media. An analogy is created between the messages the media produces and a drug which is injected by a hypodermic syringe. The audience being the patient and the sources of media (television, newspapers etc.)

  1. Free essay

    Advertisement comparative report.

    stars with their names shown on the credits which gives the first impression of the advert as if it is a movie trailer but in actual fact it is a M&S advert. When they show Twiggy Lawson the viewers would usually associate her with M&S so that is a big give away.

  2. Media Studies: Magazine Evaluation

    first pages the buyer sees, overall I think the page look very good, again incorporating the same design template used on by Humza in his contents page, (i.e all the text is on the left and the images on the right)

  1. Analysing the Times newspapers

    However newspaper is distributed as well on supermarket, internet, shops, news agent everyday and film is release one a year or two and distributed once a month depending on the selling product which makes the difference from the genres. Describing ethnic issues that can affect the times newspaper e. g.

  2. The Agenda and Nature of Stirling Observer

    The in-depth interview uses a flexible interview approach. It aims to ask questions to explain the reasons underlying a problem or practice in target people. This technique were used to gather ideas and to develop materials for the policy maker's thinking of newspaper.

  1. How powerful is the Media in British Politics?

    other things apart from their ideals become far more important, such as the way he or she may look, their tone of voice or even accent. Bill Jones goes as far to say "some politicians are arguably barred from the highest office on account of their looks" citing the fact

  2. Discuss and illustrate the production of ideology by the contemporary mass media. Focus upon ...

    The English have done this for centuries, and the 'Heritage Industry' in contemporary Britain continues the tradition of affirming Englishness as a 'natural' cultural identity to be taken as normative. Using the cinema as an example, the attitudes outlined above were carried in the imagery and the texts, which established

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work