Media freedom is one of the most talked about legislation all over the world. There exist many different legislations put in place by various governments in different countries. So, does there exist any effect of media coverage on election campaigns?
Regulating media coverage in many countries has seen many media stations limiting the content that needs to be shared with the public which revokes the right of one’s freedom of speech and expression. There are various reasons why the government can decide to regulate the kind of information that is shared. However, doing so requires them to have clear justifiable reasons that cannot be resolved easily.
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The public believes that the market is required to decide whatever they want to hear and watch and thus most the workers working in this media stations should not be punished for doing their activities well and thus the government needs not to be involved. The public argues that if some of the forms of media existed a while back, then communication would still be existent and would have the same protection that speech has.
Media coverage influences the public and the same can be seen to how it influenced people decision making in the 2016 US Presidential Election. The media is known to offer coverage of the regular press conferences, speeches, and past and present social media posts from some of the candidates. Media influence on political processes started from way back in the 60’s during the Presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.
Media is defined as any form of print media such as magazines or newspapers, radio, television, photography including new media such as Twitter and other social media platforms. Many of these forms are known to influence how elections are carried out in the country. It is up to the media to decide the coverage of their programming which has an effect on the kind of show or message they are going to air to the public. During the last presidential campaign in the US, it could be clearly seen that most of the coverage went to campaigns of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in their quest of becoming nominees of their respective parties. The same, however, cannot be said about Bernie Sanders who was also vying for the same presidential seat, but the coverage was lacking.
It was evident by Sander’s remarks to how the media’s values and principles are profit driven instead of being unbiased in the political process of the US. The remarks came because it was evident that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the focus before the other nominees were announced thus displaying how media coverage can influence elections. The media can also be bias since journalists are often told to report on certain topics rather than delivering the straight news. It is often seen that if the owner of the news company has a profit or financial interests to a certain organization then, it is highly likely that most of the content offered to the public will have less negative news coverage. Studies conducted by Harvard University showed that in the previous United States elections, Fox News had significantly more positive coverage news than the other media networks. It is considered bias and influences elections since it has the power to changing a person’s opinion whenever they line up to vote.
Often these days, new ways of communicating and getting hindsight’s on a perspective be it news has seen the growth of social media as another new form of media coverage. Many candidates these days use platforms such as Twitter to have their message reach a wider group of people bypassing traditional press. Most of these platforms help the individual to continue giving out their agenda directly engaging with the public thus becoming increasingly important and influential to them.
With the increase in the number of media platforms and other forms of media coverage, media influences elections due to some of the factors laid in the article above.
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