Media and Politics


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  • Context: Working democracies have the following characteristics Philippine Democracy: Laden with contradictions Elections  Hardly “free and fair” (although better than ever before) Constitutional Checks and Balances  more or less in place Civil Liberties  accorded citizens, sometimes too much Civil Society  Vibrant; one of the most active in the world Participative governance  local government on the one hand, political elites on the other
  • Print: Newspapers (Broadsheets), Magazines, Tabloids, etc. Broadcast: Television and radio
  • The fourth estate If the checks and balances of government do not seem to be working, an alternative means of seeking redress for grievances is through the media Muckraking Exposes Expressing and influencing public opinion The media is the most accessible venue for large-scale expression At the same time, media stories shape public values and opinion It captures public sentiment (especially because it must sell) This is best seen in terms of what makes the front pages Informing government policy Since the media often reflect public opinion, it weighs heavily on government decisionmaking
  • Freest press in Asia Our press is usually described as freewheeling (especially compared to other countries’) We can also attribute this to the fact that there are numerous forms of media in the country Broadsheets of wide circulation Tabloids Television and Radio stations Adversarial and populist Our media caters to what sells (which is a valid consideration, but not the only one) Adversarial: in our media culture, government officials are fair game Democratization - The media was a critical component of the end of the Marcos and Estrada regimes
  • Sensationalism Exaggerating stories in order to make the story more marketable Bias Uneven treatment of an issue (different from focusing on one side of an issue) “Race to the bottom” When media corporations move towards the least common denominator in terms of the stories they focus on or what they offer to their readers e.g. Smut, unsubstantial stories, etc. Weak libel and slander laws Part of the blame for our freewheeling press lies in the weakness of our libel and slander laws It is extremely difficult to convict anyone of either, which becomes a moral hazard problem encouraging more of the same
  • Media as Kingmaker Media is an agenda-setter It also can propel people and issues into the limelight (Conversely, it can also damage careers and images irrevocably) There is something wrong with the fact that political aspirants manipulate the media to further their political ambitions (especially when already in office) Media mileage “ Spin”
  • The quality of Philippine journalism in general leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Proprietal intervention  i.e. the interference of media proprietors in matters of substance Note however, that this is very subjective: not all proprietors intervene in matters of the press
  • Media and Politics

    2. 2. OVERVIEW <ul><li>What do we mean when we refer to the media? </li></ul><ul><li>In what way is media an important political actor? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some characteristics of the Philippine media? </li></ul><ul><li>How has the Philippine media affected politics in the country? </li></ul>
    3. 3. DEMOCRACY TODAY <ul><li>Elections </li></ul><ul><li>Constitutional checks and balances </li></ul><ul><li>Civil liberties </li></ul><ul><li>Party system </li></ul><ul><li>Civil society </li></ul><ul><li>Participative governance </li></ul>
    4. 4. MEDIA <ul><li>Collective term referring to forms of communication able to reach broad areas of a population on a large scale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Mass media” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forms (broad categories): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Print </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Broadcast </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. IMPORTANCE <ul><li>Media is a significant political entity in its own right </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternative check and balance to government (the “Fourth Estate”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is a venue for expressing and influencing public opinion (the concept of a “public sphere”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It informs government policy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A vibrant media serves is a cornerstone of democracy </li></ul>
    6. 6. MEDIA IN THE PHILS. <ul><li>The Philippines is known for having the “freest press in Asia” </li></ul><ul><li>Generally adversarial towards government and populist in orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Critical in the country’s democratization process </li></ul><ul><li>Media ownership is generally concentrated among several influential families </li></ul>
    7. 7. PROBLEMS AND ISSUES <ul><li>Media freedom and responsibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The responsibility of the media is to report issues without fear nor favor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The problem is that media freedom is often taken to the extreme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sensationalism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bias </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Race to the bottom” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Weak libel and slander laws </li></ul></ul></ul>
    8. 8. PROBLEMS AND ISSUES <ul><li>Media as Kingmaker </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Media is a potent catalyst for change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It shapes and is shaped by public opinion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However, the media has also been used as means of political advancement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Celebrity politics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Veiled political campaigns </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. PROBLEMS AND ISSUES <ul><li>Effective training and journalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In terms of skills, many members of the media have poor journalistic training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Depth and accuracy of media stories leave much to be desired </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Journalistic ethics have also suffered and the corruption of the media remains a pressing issue </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. PROBLEMS AND ISSUES <ul><li>Proprietary intervention </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As enterprises, media companies are natural monopolies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media owners have used their companies as instruments to promote their business interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Killing potentially damaging stories </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interference in editorial policy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use of the media for political influence </li></ul></ul></ul>