The ultimate function of the media is regarded to be informing the society on the day to day issues. The form of information according to a classical liberal model should be related to objectivity, neutrality and the truth in the context of the media. The media is regarded as a source that quenches the thirst of information among the vast number of people worldwide. This is fulfilled by the various kinds of media present as well as the internet, which gives people information. Since 1990s there has been formation of new media pathways that have resulted to the information superhighway. The relative new media is composed of computers, satellites and modern technology that incorporate interactive sessions such as the e-mail. The ever developing internet has resulted to congestion of information on the information superhighway. The net is attributed to having a huge effect on the political agenda (Lader, 2008, p. 287). The transformation that has been instigated by the internet is so tremendous in that in the American elections of 1996 to 2008, all the presidential candidates incorporated a website in their campaigns.
Politics and the internet
Internet has come to feature politically in different aspects. It has constantly been used by conventional political institutions that comprises of the political parties and the government agencies. In addition to this the internet is attributed to new forms of interaction and political organizations. It is through the internet that the political parties get a through way of communicating to their constituents through the use of websites, forums and a times e-mails. One of the major advantages attributed to the internet is that it provides a channel of delivering messages without attracting the questioning and scrutiny that is attributed to the traditional media. Not only is the information flow via the internet easily controlled, the methods that are provided by the internet are cheap as well as they are able to respond immediately to events at hand. Concerns have however emerged over the potential drawbacks that have been attributed to the internet use. It is indicated that in the overall outlook of the internet access among the population, the access means remains common within social groups that are more advantageous within the society. In relation to this, crucial sectors of the target remain out of reach in regards to online information. It is through these concerns that the internet is therefore regarded as a supplement and not replacement of the traditional media channels of media communication.
The technological advantage that is attributed to internet is based in its ability to attain a global reach. This therefore indicates that, it is through the internet that one can have an active participation in debates that result to increase in interactivity. In respect to this the anonymity that is attributed to online communication is considered as an advantage to the internet mode of media. In the political domain the internet may not be regarded as a vital feature of the politics, however it increases the opportunities for domination as well as shaping the political process. Arguments have been put across that propose as well as oppose the idea of the internet as a liberating and as revolutionizing medium of politics. However, as most of the ever emerging technological phenomena, the internet has attained a partial opinion thus more time may be required to ascertain the proper view of the internet (Buckler and Dolowitz, 2005, p. 6).
The idea that is attributed to the demise of traditional democracy by the internet is regarded as a radical scenario. The ever emerging new technologies are ever present as a direct input from the individuals within the society. It is through the forums, e-voting and discussion areas that have been availed on the internet, that have enable the citizens within a nation to have a say on matters pertaining to their governance. In this case, mediating groups such as the parties and parliament are bypassed (Chadwick, 2009, p. 32).
Freedom of the media in the society
In the society media is regarded as a specific institution. This therefore means that it is incorporated with interests, norms and practices. The concept of press freedom has elicited mixed reaction with the journalists considering it as ambivalent thus making it limited in to a certain extent. According to Josephi, the existing conditions contribute to making the objective indicators difficult to attain in terms of ascertaining the extent of the press freedom. The recent study on indicators of press freedom raises queries on whether it is possible to account for the press freedom using the methods that relate to structural facilities. In addition to this, another dilemma lies on the overall tendency of shifting focus from social and political factors to the economic factors. In relation to this, a theory that has arisen is that the freedom of the media is to be depicted as a result of low market concentration and economic prosperity. Another point of focus is the ever increasing tabloidization of the media. A big portion of the media is regarded as tabloids. However, suggestions have been put across on an operable category that should be in place and should be used in the measurement of the media independence and the media freedom (Josephi, 2010, p. 240).
The media system is supposed to provide accurate information as well as incorporate various perspectives and opinions. The media objectivity is regarded to be a two-dimensional concept with the first criticism indicating that journalism is a biased affair as the journalists are not autonomous from political, economical as well as other elites within the society. This therefore results to deteriorating levels of objectivity. Secondly, critics claim that there can be no objectivity that is general. This therefore indicates that it is difficult to perceive journalism as neutral.
In relation to the freedom of press, one of the crucial roles of the press is to act as the citizen’s watchdog. This means that, it is the responsibility of the media to control as well as limit the excessive power of the state authorities. This can be achieved through bringing to the limelight any aspect of mishandling of public utilities. In order to achieve this, the liberal model should be incorporated in the sense that the media will be autonomous from the state hence resulting to functioning of the media in a free and conducive market. Incorporation of any public or state regulation body, will one way or another limit the vital role of the media (Balabanova, 2007, p. 55).
By adopting a holistic multi-dimensional aspect of the new media, the main issue will be to challenge the traditional divides of communication as well as those of the media. In the socio-cultural perspective, examines the adaptability process of the old news sources to the new news sources. In addition to this, the socio-cultural perspective also explores the process by which the new news sources are emerging as well as the impact they have on the news content. Proliferation of news platform has time and again resulted in a dilemma of the country’s single monolithic structure that should be replaced by multiple publics connected in key ways. This has resulted to online journalism that offers the audience a dimension of the world that is contextualized as well as multidimensional as compared to traditional news media. In the online journalism, it is difficult for the journalists to attain privileges as well as anyone to control the flow of information. It is through the internet that one can attain the space to compare the validity of particular news in respect to another. In addition to this the news sources that have been referred to can still be accessed. This therefore means that the news gathering is exposed in a different perspective as compared with before (Fenton, 2010, p.9).
Net and freedom of press
According to Valovic, “the political process is moving onto the internet.” This is both in the United States and worldwide as well. In addition to this nations are said to find each other in the sense that they are able to discuss issues affecting them as well as political agendas (Valovic, 2000, p. 167). First and foremost in definitive terms, majority of the functions of the government are bound to be replaced by the internet. This however does not mean the actual replacement but rather the virtualization of the political system thus resulting into electronically polity venue.
The government has a role to play in the use of the internet, which is through its policies. In promotion of the telecommunication infrastructure, the government will be making use of its mandate to the media industry. Regulation also is regarded as one of the factors that affect the possibility of the internet to be used. Prevalence of the internet is highly comparable to the internet communication in United States as well as other advanced democratic states. It is regarded that political content that is incorporated on the internet is more or less the same as the political content in other media. The potential effect of the internet is huge in countries that limit political freedom. In countries that have embraced democracy, the internet is attributed for enhancing democracy through mobilization as well as dissemination of information. Despite the huge impact that the internet have in enhancing democracy, it is with the collaboration of the other media that it can achieve revolutionary transformation of politics. In addition to this, nations that limit political freedom will find it difficult to control the internet, as it is considered to be more than an additional outlet in terms of developing an infrastructure for mobilization as well as dissemination of information. In such a scenario, the internet may be the only outlet in case the other outlets have been blocked (Klotz, 2004, p. 203). The resilience and the effectiveness of the internet as a device of information dissemination and mobilization are some of the key attributes that are required for the revolutionary transformation of politics to take place. Although the internet does not guarantee automatic transformation, it plays a crucial role in amplifying the voice on the common citizen against a government that is repressive in nature.
Differences between old and new media
In order to explore the various qualities of the new media, a clear distinction is to be made between the old and the new media. The differences between the two arise from a number of concepts that include: systemic, aesthetic and technological. In the systemic differences, the difference is attributed to the organization principles of the new as well as the old media orders. While the old media order was based on print mediums and systems of broad casting, the new medium order was based on global and transnational communication. In the aesthetic differences, the new media is defined by the qualities in which the new media promotes interaction and immediacy. In addition to this the dominance of images is higher as compared to the text. Therefore digitalized media is considered to be a fast media.
Although the old media such as the television and the new media such as the internet have a common theme of change in delivery system, the particular theme is in each of the case is regarded to be different. In relation to the internet, the change in delivery system is more than just change as the whole communication system that exists between the sender and the receiver is completely changed. In addition to this, the concept of the receiver and the sender is not well translated in the internet domain. On the other hand old media such as the television is attributed to changing the printed-word communication into audio-visual medium (Fitch and McCurry, 2004, p. 116).
Internet’s role and impact in the society
In case of a repressive government, the internet is regarded as a potential threat in terms of its mobilization capacity and its information spreading system. This is attributed to the fact that the internet is regarded as an anonymous, decentralized as well as resilient outlet. This therefore indicates that internet does not have a central location upon which the government in power can use as a target. It therefore presents a dilemma to the repressive government as it is everywhere and at the same time nowhere. As the common citizens engage in acts of mobilizing as well as content providers, the internet continue to establish itself in the society hence creating numerous locations of communication.
In relation to the freedom of the media, the internet is the appropriate media channel in case anonymity of the communicator is to be maintained. This is because accounts can be developed using fictitious names. In addition to this, using the internet in facilities meant for the general public use will make it difficult to trace a particular individual. As technology advances, people using the internet can still remain anonymous by disguising their source of communication through encryption as well as using various software’s designed for the sole purpose of hiding messages.
According to Axford and Huggins, the information revolution is attributed to the second and now the third technologies that pertain to the media. The third technology involves the internet technology. The net’s impact is greatly felt in the e-commerce sector where the old and the new media are suggested to be converging (Axford and Huggins, 2001, p. 11). The new media that incorporates the media is regarded to have refashioned the old media, a process called “remediation”. In addition to this the relationship that exists between the media and politics is reflected by not only the content of what is communicated but by also the mode or manner by which the information is communicated to the audience.
In Russia for instance, the impact of the internet is enormous. Despite the fact that the number of internet users is approximately 12% of the total population, the net is the common source media among the young generation, the elite and the highly paid professionals. In addition to this it is regarded as an open medium that is attributed to the public domain and civil journalism. Information is considered to be of high value to the society and with the advancement of internet technology, information is virtually spread across the borders of countries with easiest of means. In other words the internet is regarded as one of the biggest communication and information network in the history of the media industry. It is this new array of information that affects the relations of a society as well as the nation state system. The internet is regarded as a force to reckon with as it shapes the personal relationship as well as international political environment (Plaickner, 2009, p. 2). In the transnational and national activism, the internet is regarded as vital tool as it is able to attain global visibility, tie connections and bypass authoritarian control. In terms of globalization, the internet intensifies the social relations worldwide by linking different localities despite of their geographical differences.
The internet is regarded as the newly acquired media upon which an individual can express his or her mind freely, which is regarded as an advantage over the other media whose contents may be banned before they even see the light of the day. In addition to this the internet has incorporated freedom of expression in the society which has resulted to incidents of healthy scepticism. This is why the freedom from control and in particular state control is regarded as crucial in terms of protecting the overall freedom of the internet. By protecting the net from censorship, we must also ensure that the crusade against censorship does not distract us to creation of rules that seek to control the ne (Tambini et al, 2008, p. 285).
The incorporation of the internet in the modern world is a blessing in disguised as it is through the internet that social networking sites as well as blogs have developed thus making it possible for people of all ages as well as technologically disabled people to access the net. It is through these sites that have been developed through the internet, that people are able to find likeminded compatriots thus creating chains of interactions across the world. In the process of interacting, people opinions are expressed openly without the scrutiny that is present in the traditional media. The internet is not only vital to the ordinary citizen, as the politicians also make use of it especially during campaigns, where they address their constituents through their websites. In conclusion the inception of the internet has ruled out the censored methods and strategies used to silence old media such as the newspaper and books. This is because these strategies have no impact on the net.
Axford, B. and Huggins, R. 2001. New media and politics. CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Balabanova, E. 2007. Media, wars and politics: comparing the incomparable in Western and Eastern Europe. VT: Ashgate Publishing Company.
Buckler, S. and Dolowitz, P. D. 2005. Politics on the Internet: a student guide. NY: Routledge.
Chadwick, A. 2009. Routledge handbook of Internet politics. NY: Routledge.
Fenton, N. 2010. New media, old news: journalism & democracy in the digital age. London: Sage Publications.
Fitch, B. and McCurry, M. 2004. Media relations handbook for agencies, associations, nonprofits, and Congress. VA: TheCapitol.Net, Inc.
Josephi, U. B. 2010. Journalism education in countries with limited media freedom. NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
Klotz, J. R. 2004. The politics of Internet communication. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Lader, C. 2008. Barron’s AP U.S. Government and Politics. NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
Plaickner, S. 2009. The Internet and Its Role in Global Politics: International Relations in the internet information era. Norderstedt: GRIN Verlag.
Tambini, D. Et al. 2008. Codifying cyberspace: communications self-regulation in the age of internet convergence. NY: Routledge.
Valovic, S. T. 2000. Digital mythologies: the hidden complexities of the Internet. NJ: Rutgers University Press.