The Media Industry
The morning of a modern person hardly begins with a shower or coffee. First of all, upon waking up, a lot of people pick up the phone and turn on Wi-Fi. Throughout the day, they also read newspapers on the subway, listen to the radio in cars, stumble upon various signboards, watch TV, and still do not understand that mass media is everywhere. The media industry is a modern field of communication between people and delivering meaningful informational products to the audience. It is what information space around society creates every day and every second. The media industry is a contradictory phenomenon of the modern world, a powerful weapon that allows influencing the masses of people and a means that can both strengthen the state system and disrupt it.
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The Controversy of the Media Industry
The role of the media industry has long been debated in different countries around the world. Its sphere is a discrepant phenomenon that has both positive and negative sides. As for advantages, it informs people about the news, entertains, educates, and makes users versatile. Well-developed and well-financed social media, which have nothing to do with private or state media, are an essential element and condition for the existence of true democracy. However, many information products created only to profit invisibly affect human convictions, advertise useless goods, and often present false information. Therefore, it would be wrong to evaluate media as only a positive or negative phenomenon. It should be understood in the context of the media industry because it is a product that directly depends on the purpose of its producer.
The Role of Media in Democracy
The power of the media is so significant that it is called the fourth branch of government. Its influence on society turns out to be incomparably more important than the influence of other social institutions. Public service media, which have a strong position in society, play a significant positive role in strengthening and developing democracy. Democracy is directly dependent on the level of education of its citizens, and it is the main task not only for schools but also for the media to enlighten the citizenry. One of the primary political freedoms, freedom of speech, cannot be realized without independent media. Citizens’ involvement in politics, their competence, the ability to make grounded choices and make responsible decisions depend on their access to information about the activities of government bodies. Non-commercial social media helps people fight dishonesty, forgery, and other phenomena, summarized under corruption or decadence.
The Peculiarities of Commercial Media
While social media contributes to forming an active civic position, commercial one aims to sell goods. It does not care about state affairs, striving to make people buy things they do not even need. The media industry has a decisive impact on what people wear, what books they read, what political and cultural views they hold, and what professions they choose. Its power is as great as invisible: people rarely notice that they are being manipulated, and their decisions are dictated not by their will but by someone else’s volition.
“While social media contributes to the formation of active civic position, commercial one aims to sell goods.”
The negative influences of commercial media on democracy are the rapid spread of fake news and the collection of users’ personal data, when all consumers’ movements on sites are fixed. Moreover, as Chakrabarti (2018) claims, one of the most significant demerits of social media is echo chambers, where users can see only viewpoints they agree with, which further drives people apart. Hence, commercial media is contrasted with the national one, which aims to educate citizens.
Thus, the force of mass media extends to almost all spheres of social life. Its role is ambiguous and controversial in the modern world. They educate the real citizens, entertain, enlighten, and give the chance to discover the information picture of the world from different aspects. However, the media products often present false information and mislead their consumers. The media industry debate is not happening at the product level but at the manufacturer level. Information products are created with a specific purpose, and this very purpose is the main reason for the ambiguity of the media industry.
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Chakrabarti, S. (2018). Hard questions: What effect does social media have on democracy? Facebook. Web.