Importance of Media in Liberal Democracy
Liberal democracy is a form of representative democracy where elected representatives that hold the decision power are moderated by a constitution that emphasizes protecting individual liberties and the rights of minorities in society, such as freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion, the right to private property and privacy, as well as equality before the law and due process under the rule of law, and many more. Decisions have been taken by the government and it is selected through the election and all the eligible members of the state take part into it.The media are mechanisms of communication: historically the media consisted mainly of newspapers, but today they are more diverse and include journals, radio, televisions. Today we get information from internet also. It is developing into a major mechanism of international communication and is becoming widely utilized as a source of information regarding political affairs and also to organize extra-parliamentary political activities on a global basis. The importance of media in our modern life needs no explanation.
Media is necessary from our household chores to our professional life and the importance of media in liberal democracy is vast. As a backbone of democracy, mass media can play a vital role in the political structure of each country through disseminating information, enlightening voters, protecting human rights, creating tolerance among groups and helping government to be transparent and accountable. In the present context, the role of the media in a democracy will be discussed from two perspectives. In a democracy, the citizens are responsible for making collective decisions to benefit the whole.In order for a democratic community to flourish, its members must share the knowledge they gain. This sharing of knowledge is a form of education that insures intelligent and informed decision-making by all the members of the community for the benefit of the individuals and the community as a whole. In our society the sharing of knowledge is carried out by both the education system and the media.
The schools are designed to teach skills and long-term knowledge. The media’s function is to inform the public about contemporary issues.The media gives the citizens an understanding of what is currently happening in their world, and the schools give them the skills to deal with these issues. In a large society, media helps to distribute culture by giving the mass population shared experience. The more we feel we have in common, the greater bond we will have to each other and the greater chance we will be able to make decisions for the common good. It is also another important aspect of media in liberal democratic society. Because bonding of the people of a large society is very important here.
An essential part of democracy is the freedom of speech.With the extremely large number of voices in our society, and the historical scarcity of mass media space, we have given only a very small number of people the opportunity to be a part of the media. These privileged communicators are supposed to represent the rest of us, much like how our elected officials are supposed to represent their constituents. It would be impractical to represent every person in the society or in the state. Instead, it is more productive to represent communities, demographics and organizations. The media should represent our demands, our rights, our thinking, our problems, our hope, our dream etc.The media is the better way of informing the authority about it because generally the voice of general public is not too much loud to reach the authority.
With this privilege of mass communications power there is a responsibility of the media to protect the people it represents. The people support and look to the media as a system for keeping the power structures of their society in check. The media must represent the people’s interests and notify them of any issues the public may want to act on. It means that the media has to protect the people as a watchdog.