The Role of Media in Australian Politics
Media is a sensitive platform and is vested with many responsibilities ranging from formal education and music promotion to business promotion. Moreover, it has a specific influence on politics handling within a particular nation or the world at large. However, media has immense power with the Australian democracy because approximately all the Australians receive news from the media other than any other source (Craig, 2005). The Australian media has significantly changed perception in political arena. Poltics is an interesting topic, which medias are likely to report because it involves many upheavals and controversies. Political scenes are always active with campaigns during the period of elections and politicians sometimes tend to control and influence the way mass media reports news concerning them. The media has several aspects that help people understand political analysis and news. Current paper will focus on the positive and negative roles the media plays in Australian politics.
Media Dependency Theory is vital in the study of media influence on politics because it focuses on politics. The theory has three main aspects: first is the social system, which represents the government and politics in details (Smith, Vromen, & Cook, 2012). The government has an attached responsibility to fulfill the promises made to its citizens. Under the government, politicians are assumed to be bestowed with the responsibility of governing public properties and resources and allocate them with the utmost level of equality. Secondly, is the media system itself. Media system involves the press, TV, radio and newspapers (Sedlmayr & Waller, 2014). The media system is a business, and it will always deal with political stories because it seems very demanding in the public. The Australian politics is a massive resource for the media, which is used to earn money through the public. Thirdly, the audience system refers to the public, which represents the Australians in this case. The audience expects to acquire valuable resources from the government and its representatives. The dependency between such three aspects balances the equation when the media tries to link the communication between public and government.
The recent Australian general election saw a difference compared to the previous elections, especially during the political parties campaigns. In the contemporary world, the media has grown from not only a television and radio broadcasting but it also employs emergence of such social media platforms as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (Smith, Vromen, & Cook, 2012). In 2013 Australian general election, social media was a crucial platform where many political leaders chose to represent their campaigns on television, radio, Facebook, Twitter and blog websites. The campaigns on social medias were called to gain support of the youth population. A study indicates that campaigns run on social media pulled a massive participation of youth in the 2013 general elections.
Media also plays a vital role in informing the Australian citizens about the trending news in the political scenes. Regarding the age and a busy lifestyle of the elderly Australians, they can receive a chance to turn to their TVs to receive the current political views (McQuail, 2007). The media often provides details of political affairs and reports the information that citizens are willing to hear. Sometimes, the media gives the citizens a chance to contribute via phone calls or tweets. The information regarding politics helps citizen make important decisions that can affect their political perception and business operations. In politics, the media can either damage or build political figures by influencing the public opinion. Many Australians depend on television as their primary source of information where they can see and hear about political events, issue and other matters related to politics. The media often provides political agendas during night newscasts because of high frequency of the public watching.
Tin addition, the media helps in setting political forums where political leaders can debate during their election campaigns. However, candidates can also broadcast debates and advertisement with each other on television channels. When the voters watche such debates and advertisments they tend to learn critical ideology about their politicians, which influences their candidature preference when the election time comes (Brett, Gillespie & Goot, 2005). Apart from the election times, the media also permits the elected leaders to explain their sections, plans and perspectives via the new stories and interviews. For example, sometimes leaders may find themselves in different controversial situations. In such cases, the public will demand an explanation or clarification of their actions, and a need for a media platform will arise. Campaigns are strategized to prime the citizen’s perception of political matters and their candidate preferences.
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Very often, the Australian mass media takes the advantage of the president and represents him as the agenda setter. In the process of setting the agenda, they focus on the issue, which people will view as the highly important one. The president usually becomes the target because he carries some element of influence that can change the motivation and perception of a great number of individuals (Economou & Ghazarian, 2010). The media addresses the agenda by focusing on a particular problem and evaluates the public reaction towards that problem in relation to the president. The president will be prompted to react to the changes and attention placed on the media. In such case, the media appears to have a greater influence on the policy agenda of the prominent public officials. The familiarity and publicity of a government official with political matters are closely relevant and related to the amount of publicity and attention placed on the particular issue received by the media. In other words, the media is said to have a winning position. The media appears not to be successful in knowing what to think but rather in telling the masses what to think about.
The Australian media also has a role in socializing people on political grounds. It has achieved it through educational programs, which aim atto enlighting the youths and even the immigrants who have moved to Australia, hence, helping them learn the Australian politics. People receive an opportunity to socialize by sharing their political views with their states, districts and counties (Craig, 2005). Additionally, there are television and radio channels, which specifically focus on the subject of politics. Citizens interested in such channels can receive the latest news in the political arena from them.
Leaders are also analyzed via the social media. Once the leaders assume the office, the media take some time to find information and present the performances of each leader. The citizens are always curious to know the performance of the leaders whom they elected to the office (Brett, Gillespie, & Goot, 2005). The media will provide a comparison analysis on how the leaders have been performing in the office. Sometimes the analysis erupts political feuds when the opposition checks and analyzes the running leaders. The dispute gives leaders pressure to try to stay focused and deliver their manifesto to the citizens. However, some leaders will also deliberately assess their performance and place them on the media to show their supporters’ how they work.
Through media, journalists receive a chance to investigative political scandals and provide findings for public view through television or other Internet media like YouTube. Investigative journalism have become very popular in Australia and many journalists make careers out of it by uncovering political scandals at the interest of the public (Sedlmayr & Waller, 2014). However, the journalism has helped in the uncovering of crucial scandals that involve embezzlement of public funds, misappropriation of public resources and other elements of corruption involving misuse of public properties. On the other hand, the journalism has received much critics from leaders who believe that such journalists have an intention to destroy their political career.
Sometimes the media inclines to act as the public supervisor. As a public representative, the media holds some unscrupulous government officials accountable for thier misdeeds. Some of the Australian leaders may be caught in scandalous activities, which may have negative influence on them. In such cases, the media investigates the scandals and insists on corresponding explainations from perpetratos, who, in addition, may even take responsibilities for their actions (Economou & Ghazarian, 2010). For example, the media will act as activist by exposing crimes and confirm allegations involving the government officials and institutions. Watchdog journalism tends to reveal misdeeds of politicians and government systems. The public does not have an opportunity to attack the government officials without the aid of media.
Another important role played by Australian media is in the democracy and peace campaigns. During political rallies and campaigns, the media takes the initiative of encouraging the citizens to participate in democratic activities (Sedlmayr& Waller, 2014). For example, in 2013 Australian general election, the media mobilized the citizen to practice their democratic rights by voting and electing leaders who could lead them to their Austalian dreams. However, the media also helped in preaching peace in the country during elections campaigns. The media achieves it by running peaceful messages on television and in newspapers.
Mass media can also be used in making public announces. Government authorities and agencies tend to utilize the media platform to disseminate an important message to the public. For example, a certain political party may pass an important message targeting its followers (Sedlmayr & Waller, 2014). Moreover, the government can use the media to inform its citizens by warning them of an impending catastrophes like storms, earthquakes and other deadly epidemics. Moreover, the government uses the media in achieving equality in terms of tenders and in cases of changes in property. In such way, the citizens will feel the palpability of the government concern in terms of care and responsibility.
In relation to international politics, many foreign and domestic issues are affected by media coverage, which may later have an impact on politicians. Local issues include things like healthcare, employment level, crime, education and poverty. In foreign and international political arenas, media addresses matters of terrorism, racism and xenophobic attacks (Fenna, 2013). The media puts more focus on how political leaders will address international concern issues like terrorism and crime. Terrorism is a global enemy becoming an issue of human interest and sensitive to contextual cues when reflected under public affairs. The citizens will depend on explanations from the media coverages regarding issues of terror attacks. The problem becomes sensitive because it entails the safety of the Australians, and the media will include it in the agenda to gain mass appeal and politician’s standpoint.
The media has emerged as a podium, which fights for gender equality in the political arena. The media performs opinions polls to determine from the public whether the Australian government has equally represented women participation in the politics. Initially, larger proportional of the night newscasts presentation was mainly paired with masculine terms, but today there is a significant change (Acker, 2011). In the news, women receive almost equal coverage in the media as men who are in the similar position. The Australian media has seen a tremendous increase in the number of women journalists, as well. Due to such fact, women journalists have taken the platform to raise the popularity of their fellow women in the political participation. The popularity of women politicians increases when voters hear their manifestos and political stands concerning various sensitive issue in the country (Acker, 2011).
In spite of the positive role played by the Australian media, there are still elements of adverse publicity, which the media is responsible for. First, at some point, the media is known for bringing up negative publicity on public officials or aspiring candidates. It tends to represent petty and salient issues about prominent political leaders, which are irrelevant, but still can have a negative influence. In other scenario, the media may overplay or pay too much attention to a particular issue. For example, media can focus on health issues or leaders history concerning drugs and other insufficient scandals (Craig, 2005). Some of the Australian mass medias have received many critics for failing to address the important topics like social security and healthcare reforms. In 2012, only 12% of the evening Australian news covered matters of politics, while half of the stories reflected the personal life of individual politicians.
The media bears crucial responsibility in serving the Australian society. With the presence of media, government officials are obliged to be scrupulous and serve the public with diligence as all their actions can be represented by the media to the audience. However, without social media freedom, many political scandals and events could be hidden from the public. Political campaigns and social rallies tend to run effectively due to maximum coverage and updates from the media system. On the contrary, the Australian media has received many critics regarding the media biased subjects. Some influential political leaders are known to be influencing the media rights to broadcast political stories in their favor, while discriminating others by depriving their media right. Nonetheless, the media system has played an appraisable role in the Australian politics today.