History has shown us that media in every form has been the basis of spreading information.
It serves as the median between an event and the people. Throughout this course, we have dissected troubling topics as well as news that can be seen from different perspectives. We have seen how various events where the media has given us information that was credible and on the other hand, there has been instances where we have been given false information. As citizen of the United States, people have the right to know what is going on within our country as well as informed of global events. Hence, media can be bad and good for democracy. This is why some people have mixed beliefs about what they are told in the news. Democracy is not just voicing your opinion and voting at the ballot box.
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Democracy is experienced online on the daily basis. The media has taken the front seat on public democratic issues. At times, it has given people the right information so that they will be able to make their own decision on how they feel about an event. In contrast, the media has been a source of bad information that in turn, destroys democratic functions. The most prevalent instance of a destroyed democratic function is the Trump campaign. During his campaign Trump ran into a lot of negativity in the media.
The main source of displaying his thoughts, opinions and even decisions to the public is through Twitter. Trump caused many problems domestically and abroad with his rash decision and threats. One of the main issues was slandering Islamic people. Trump issued a travel ban within his first one hundred days in office. According to the BBC, the travel ban barred anyone arriving from seven Muslim-majority countries such as Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Anyone from these countries faced a 90-day visa suspension. This was a very serious problem that went viral across every platform of social media. There were posts on Twitter and Facebook that supported the use of the ban and wanted to elongate the travel ban because of their hate for Islamic people.
Events that occur can be visible at times of controversy, especially when a motivated group of users are expected to speak out. The Islamic community as well as many other faith-driven groups all spoke up about this ban. International students were unable to visit their homes and some were unable to travel for work because of this ban. A source from News8 interviewed a professor of international studies who is an Islamic citizen from Iraq. He states, “this ban is just going to create more hatred, which we don’t need in this world right now, instead of banning my people, let’s make sure that we come up with laws that are fair for everybody.” The media was capable of applying enormous pressure in that time of sensitivity for Islamic people. All over the world, people took to social media as their voice to fight Trump’s ban.
There were contradictory views expressed online, and these views were able to impede the governance of the United States. Currently, there is now proposed bills of impeachment of the Donald Trump from office.To overcome media destroying democratic functions, people can use social media in a positive way instead. An international group called the Council of Europe (COE) have been doing an experiment that works with combining social media with a series of topics.
They experiment with a group of people to see how they are able to use social media to express positive news with the topics at hand. According to “Pestalozzi Training Resources,” they chose three activities for students to participate in. The primary activity students were able to explore the reality of democratic participation in schools; develop an understanding of the state of democratic participation in school settings and why it is important; reflect on the issue of democratic values and democratic participation; understand the potential of social media for promoting democratic participation.The main activity requires the students to separate into groups. Each group is given a topic to study and analyze. After doing so, the students must answer three questions regarding their topics.
The group that was most interesting is the group that was given the topic of Barack Obama and the ObamaCare plan. They must figure out: what are the most salient issues; In what way does the school context in which they practice provide/fail to provide the elements listed in the map and what are the consequences. The group of five students used Twitter to express their thoughts. They came up with the plan to try to reach out to the relative groups that may support their statements.After the statements were posted on Twitter, they came to the conclusion that people supported statements that contained information that was “absurd” or interesting. The posts that were trending or received the most likes had to do with ObamaCare being free for everyone. The second most trending topic was a post that recommended all students to sign up for the ObamaCare plan. Overall, this study showed that when students or people with commonalities like age, religion, or beliefs demonstrate an interest in democratic interventions, the public tend to be engaged in what is most relevant to them; depending on the nature of the post.
If people continue to show support for various democratic functions, it will become possible to overcome the idea of destroying democracy through media. Media is important because it is the public source of communication around the world. Media gives us the answers to burning questions and gives us a better understanding of what is going on in the world to date. The beauty of media is that it is so easily accessible across multiple platforms. Hence, we need to care about media and make an effort to keep it as reliable and credible as possible.
Lisa Chau of Social Media Week states that media is being used as a tool for information delivery. Social media outlets are the basis of interaction between two entities, corporations or individuals. Media gives users the ability to collaborate and communicate online at any point of the day.For example, Instagram is a social media source that allows users to share photos and videos of someone’s personal lifestyle.
Instagram is popular because friends, families and associates are able to see what you are doing at any time by viewing your profile. Through Instagram, small business owners are able to promote their products, non-profit organizations can push for support and donations to their cause and freelance individuals are able to make a living by posting their work and receiving publicity. As of recently, Instagram has been overwhelmed with political news. Between the recent missile crisis with Korea to domestic issues regarding recent uprising of racism, information is being viewed by millions of people each day. Pages such as “CNNPolitics” and “NPRPolitics” are both credible media companies that created Instagram pages to present news to the public.Any Instagram users are able to communicate and collaborate with each other by commenting on a post, or direct message them. This gives people the opportunity to share their opinions on matters they might not have the opportunity to address in person.
We need to take charge and care about media because it is become an essential aspect of our daily lives. Political groups can now rally more efficiently, companies can spread their branding with ease, and we are able to extended our networks and build relationships over the internet. Today’s media allow control over our public persona by people having the convenience to display whatever they want the public to see.
For media to work better for democracy, it requires the active participation of all citizens. Today, there number of senior citizens, and children creating or participating in mainstream media platforms is increasing. According to Kamiel of the HuffingtonPost, 71 percent of the elderly in America has obtained some form of a social media account. More than 50 percent of the population is represented on either Facebook or Instagram. This will create more room for more perspectives on a given topic. True democracy is when everyone’s voice is heard and opinions are taken into account. When there is diversity in gender, ethnicity and religion, it helps the government and politicians make a more informed decision. Media’s main purpose is to keep citizens engaged in the business of governance by informing, educating and mobilizing the public.
Media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and especially Reddit are the main sources of informing, educating, and mobilizing the public. We need to use these outlets as a source of educating and informing instead of bashing or spreading “fake” news.Also, to help make media better, we need to help build peace on social platforms. The media can provide a space for mediation, representation and voice so people can settle their differences peacefully. The United States is under reconstruction with our new presidential cabinet. Racism and conservative viewpoints are being exposed daily. A lot of religions, ethnicities and members of organized groups are rallying together to voice their opinions on media platforms. Instead of writing hateful or insulting messages on these platforms, we can come together to write supportive and encouraging messages that will settle disputes between groups of people.
In all, media is needed to keep a steady flow of communication on a global and national scale. Making the media available to a broad line of people in society helps social inequities and gives representation and voice to people so they can participate in public functions regarding the government. The media help us understand life by presenting it as larger-than-life, and makes us to think about what we want to say in terms of the audience we are trying to reach. If we use media to stay educated, informed and for positive credible news, the political figures are or different levels of government could become more likely to ask group’s input or opinion on matters that are most relevant.