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It therefore seems that optimising both media functions at the same time is only feasible up to a certain point. Countries either perform badly or moderately on both functions, or outstandingly on just one of the functions. In a nutshell, while the younger democracies within the sample generally lag behind especially the Eastern European, Asian and Latin American cases, but also some Southern European countries , different patterns of media performance can be observed with respect to the more mature democracies.
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The vertical function — the degree to which media provide political information — seems to be best guaranteed in Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian countries as well as in Japan. This includes the United States, often considered a worst case in terms of media performance. In contrast, the horizontal function — the capacity for the media to act as a representative public forum — is found to be much stronger in central-western European countries, such as Austria, Germany and Switzerland. These patterns are observed with regard to both the structural and the content level.
The systemic conditions that media outlets operate in also appear to influence their news coverage. Do these differences in media performance according to the vertical and horizontal functions actually have an effect on how well democracy works in the respective countries? As it happens, countries with a higher degree of media performance show higher levels of political participation and less corruption.
They also tend to have a more lively civil society, and elected representatives seem to reflect the preferences of citizens more adequately.
These findings illustrate that media performance is clearly related to at least some aspects of the functioning of a democratic regime. Therefore, given its relevance for democracy, it can be concluded that the discussion over whether media fall short of or fulfil the normative demands imposed on them is highly significant.
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Ultimately, both perspectives could benefit from considering comparative empirical evidence that distinguishes between different aspects of media performance and their influence on different elements of democracy. Her research interests include democracy theory and measurement, comparative media research and political communication. The Myth of Journalistic Impartiality under Austerity.
The European economic crisis has coincided with a decline in press freedom in the EU. Therefore, when people are aware of these facts, they show their nonconformity against the mass media by showing apathy and cynicism.
To conclude, I really liked your comment about the necessity of independent media for the survival of any democracy. Independent media nowadays have a big role in keeping societies awake to the extent that they can spot what is biased and what is rhetorical. As both you and Adorno mentioned, in the past, all media was influenced by and affiliated to the governments of democratic regimes for the sole purpose of maintaining the current dynamism of the status-quo.
Although these polarized mediums are still present to this day, Adorno points out that the primary obstacles to social progress are cultural and phycological; therefore, media organizations are crucially important in democracies since they obey to the establishing authoritarian regimes in keeping the mass culture as low culture.
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This means people are easier to fool and be deceived. To this end, independent media help to hinder regressive consumption, benightment, and mass deception, in which all of these alter the political reality to keep us captivated in the open prison in which we exist. Now, I would like to ask you a question, if you do not mind. I am writing a paper and I would appreciate your contribution very much.
I am a student currently conducting a research project surrounding whether or not mainstream media in the 21st century successfully deepens democracy. My research so far suggests the opposite, that the media more so contributes to public cynicism and democratic decay. Your comment seems very relevant to my topic and I would love to discuss this with you further and receive your insight. Please email me at aqiu student. Pingback: Readings: Journalism and trust — Trusting Journalism.
In my opinion, using the lectures from my Communication, Media and Politics class as background, success of any democracy will b short-lived without press freedom. This is achieved through the publication of stories that are written critically, objectively and patriotically. This role sometimes leads to rift between government and media as the government always wants to hide what the press ants to reveal in a bid to stand by their social responsibility to the public.
For any democracy to survive, it requires an alert, independent press that is free from the brown-envelope syndrome.