Posted by: ashbeanpdx | October 23, 2017

Who is responsibility for promoting democracy – media or citizens?

Barger & Barney suggest that citizens and media play a part in promoting democracy. Citizens’ responsibilities includes exposing themselves to media information, providing feedback to media, exposing themselves to opposing viewpoints, and protecting the media. Journalists responsibilities are reporting on topics that citizens find engaging, delivering in a form to allow for feedback, attending to feedback, and facilitating debate. These actions ensure power of information is not concentrated among a few power hungry leaders.

Ekstrom & Johansson’s article shows an example of how media can protect citizens from the power of public figures, particularly politicians who are given power to make impactful decisions. Media can expose scandals, and create dramatization and narration creating “talk scandals.” Other scandals focus on a politician’s actions (sexual, financial, or power related), meanwhile talk scandals are focused around something they have said, whether it be hearsay, a recording, or an interview. These create a stronger stance as they typically cannot be denied or refuted.

Youmans & York describe how social media is being used by citizen activists to organize movements and advocate for governmental change. Using social media, however creates issues around privacy and protection, as well as limitations given terms and conditions of the social media platforms. Community policing guidelines and restrictions on anonymity can result in activists being monitored and messages removed through the regular functions of the social media platform.

So who is responsible for sustaining democracy – media, citizens, social media companies? Are we at risk of only hearing, reading, watching media that support our own opinions?

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