Media enjoys autonomy on individuals and on societies and it can easily change or influence an individuals school of thought. Media can easily turn the tables and dilute facts according to its will and many people consider it as a power of media. It has been observed through number of instances that issues that are largely visible in the society and are treated as hyped situation usually take the centre stage of media and attention when they are portrayed through mediums like television, magazines, and newspapers.
For example The September 11 attacks of United States of America were the center of concern for the entire world and media portrayed the facts attached to this incident efficiently and effectively when they created a hype for War against Terrorism and individuals from all over the world get an idea that terrorism is an international issue and all the ethnicities must fight for this cause.
Media disclosed that terrorists were from 20 different ethnicities and nationalities and this conspiracy ended up into a conclusion that terrorism is not only the issue of USA but the entire world should be aware that terrorists are threatening the entire world. People are more intended towards media and it is estimated through studies that out of every 10 Americans six of them use television for their primary source of information (Vivian, 2007). Similarly, an American watches television for three hours daily on average and the figures are increasing day by day.
The roots of media and its approaches are getting intense with the passage of time. Its the utmost responsibility of the media that it must provide an unbiased and a non prejudicial approach for all the nations and ethnicities of the world. However, media has lacked in this instance and there are number of cases in which media has depicted its biased approach. For example after the September 11 attacks in the United States it was found that Al Qaeda was behind this but the media portrayed this in a negative manner and in number of instances they generalized their approach and treated Muslims as terrorist.
The basic flaw in this approach in that media can change ones way of thinking and it has the power to mold the thinking patterns of individuals. Its a common belief that whatever is displayed or heard in the media is nothing but the truth and many researchers consider that this approach can easily change ones school of thought and its thinking patterns. People rely on newspapers and they believe on whats being displayed on the television. Although all of us are quite aware of the sources but the authenticity of these sources is a questionable element.
The core mission of mass media must be to deliver messages that developed for consumption by a large number of people. But media enjoys the power to influence opinions and it can easily ratify the motives, values and activities of any group and can easily use at its own discretion. A protestor can easily become a hardcore activists or a terrorist depending on the perspective. The originality of media is questionable in todays world and many cultures, countries; ethnic groups are directly targeted by the media.
In this paper we will discuss how media has negatively used its power and in the current age influencing our lives. Moreover, the biased and diversified approach or media will be highlighted in this paper. Literature review Newspapers, television, radio, internet etc were actually developed to impart quality information free of prejudice and biasness and television news were intended to provide information on current issues. However in todays society it helps the viewers to see issues from different perspectives.
There is a biased attitude on every news station because the concept of neutrality on a specific issue cant always exist. In order to sell their channel or news paper and to get more money and fame each news channel develops a specific point of view and then they actually try to persuade the viewers to agree with their approach (Bagdikian, 2004). The media is significantly powerful in influencing how society should think, as well as swaying the public with regards to particular issues of public and even private concern.
It has been observed that issues that are largely visible and associated with majority of the society often take the center of attention of the media and information is then made public through television, newspapers and magazines . The media sources are mostly accused of using a sarcastic and fanatically chosen vocabulary in their own tone. These words actually change the entire message and events of which the story was based on. Just by using more fancy words media sources can easily create more controversy in the situation (Goldberg, 2003).
However, media has also portrayed its positive role and in certain cases media sources have actually helped the ethnic groups and their associated cultures and beliefs. For example people were alienated because they were suffering from HIV Aids. Media changed this belief and helped the suffers by running public service messages on their channels and through their mediums that the patients of HIV can mingle with the people and this disease doesnt spread through one another. But thats not the case in all situations and in most of the instances extra hype and propaganda is created by the media.
In print media this is one of the major issues and credibility is questioned in a number of instances. A writer can easily manipulate figures and can easily draw readers into thinking that the results are very high or extremely low in some cases. In an article, Pregnancy (Biggest threat to women) the writer uses statistical approach to give estimation that 585,500 become pregnant every year. The reader actually knows the approximation but not the exact amount. The reader believes that this approximated figure is the real figure and its very high (Alterman, 2004).
Similarly, in the cases of bomb blast and natural calamities writers that are associated with the print media create hype about the figures and they actually dont portray the real figures. This type of biasness is usually found in the print media and it is used to add more spice in the article. Omission in the news is also considered to be a source of biasness and its often treated as one of the strongest types of biasness. The writer easily leaves out facts and figures which might be important for the readers.
Therefore, by this approach a reader attains a state of confusion and very rarely the writer gets both the good and the worst side of an incident. On October 7, 1999 the Globe and Mail demonstrates a biased attitude in their article when the depicted facts about alcohol usage and how it helps to repair liver damage but they doesnt highlighted the negative effects of alcohol (Kincaid, Aronoff, & Irvine, 2007). This elimination might be counterproductive for many individuals and can seriously damage them. Print media mostly uses this approach and they either increase certain figures or eliminate them.
In this way media is depicting its negative image in the society. Diversity the darker side of media Diversity in our media is a common thing today and most of the ethnic groups that are usually in minority like Africans, Latinos, and Asian Americans are portrayed as either minorities in the western media or they are treated as a negative symbol in their plays, films and magazines. A recent study shows that programs that are usually aired on television shows prejudice in their attitude and some programs even resist the appearance of minority groups. Especially children are facing this issue and this issue is getting intense day by day.
Diversity in media especially in American culture is minimizing. The 8 to 9 pm family hour is the least ethnically diverse hour of television viewing and its named as the family hour (Lind, 2003). Although the visibility of this issue was increasing but still the minorities that is African American, Latinos and Native Americans were submerged in this issue and an association named Screen Actors Guild which usually collects ethnicity data on all casting roles in TV and in the film arena reported that the roles of the minorities declined in 1998 (Lind, 2003).
Research suggests that the appearance of Latino actors and actresses on prime-time television has decreased gradually over the last three years. In Los Angeles Latino characters are appear is just of the eight series. The irony of the situation is that this region comprises of 45% of Latino population (Hoffman & Noriega, 2004). Top plays like NYPD blue, CSI Miami, and Scrubs only consist of 1 to 2 Latinos in their shows. These figures are decreasing day by day and not only in films and TV shows this issue of ethnicity also arises in video games and theaters.
A popular game Grand Theft Auto (GTA) which is very successful amongst youngsters was criticized because of its violence and ethnicity issues. A black man was labeled as bad guy in this game who fights his way out. This portrayal of ethnicity was disliked by many black Americans. Generally, minorities are treated badly even in video games and in this way children actually develop a mindset that black people are bad and whites are good because same information is portrayed by many video games. This issue is included in our society and in our day to day affairs and its also living in sports too.
New York Times says that out of 119 NCCA coaches in Division 1 football only 4 coaches are African American. The staggering fact is that 50% of the players in NCCA football are African American and out of 100% only 3. 4% coaches are black (Biagi, 1997). The figures are decreasing and sportsmen also choose white coaches to coach them. People are not even employed properly because of this issue and most of the anchors, guests and key performers are facing this ethnic problem of media diversity. Similarly broadcasters are earning less per listener just because of the fact that they are from a minority group.
Similarly in the publishing industry the disparity remains the same and Asian and African Americans as officials and as professionals are much lower than the normal Americans (Dates & Barlow, 1983). The method of delivery of an event by the media also influences the way the public perceives the issue. The manner of delivery also determines how the public understands particular issues. For example, if the media provides a biased view of a medical disorder, then the public who has viewed the video or read the newspaper magazine will also think the same way as the media has portrayed the issue.
This problem has been pointed out in a number of research reports and these have even suggested that medical practitioners and biomedical researchers assist media personnel in order to deliver unbiased and credible reports to the public (Wilson, Code, Dorman, Ahmad, & Hebert, 2004). In the case of breast cancer among Ashkenazi Jews, media has yet to fully understand that this medical genetic disease does affect all ethnicities, yet the Jews are particularly prone due to the presence of founder mutations.
Hence, media should be cautious in the delivery of news that is associated with particular human populations because the manner of portrayal often influences the rest of the reading and viewing public. Findings & Recommendations The main purpose of various sources of media is to deliver quality information to its viewers, listeners and readers. But, media is wrongly portraying its image by involving itself with social issues of like ethnicity and diversity.
From the above literature review carried out for the purpose of current research on diversity in media fewer conclusions could be drawn from negative perspectives media often portrays. Medias sole purpose was to integrate essential information but it is involved in ethical dilemmas. Actual facts although are portrayed in the media but more preference is given the upper class of the society and media consider minorities as a lower class thats why they directors wont cant them in plays, players dont like Afro American coaches, they are less paid in relation to other Americans.
Furthermore, media doesnt hold the responsibility of being a neutral person and it usually favors on side. In the recent case of Mumbai blasts Indian Media slammed Pakistan without knowing the facts and they dont even have the evidences of what they were saying. This situation occurs because India considers itself as the power house of South Asia and treats Pakistan as a minority in the region. Thats why in order to dictate terms the powerful tool of media is used.
Proper communication channels and equality forums should prevail in every country and region and it must be understood that media although is a powerful tool but if its used ineffectively then it can be very harmful and the outcomes can be very dangerous in the long run. In most of the countries surveys and recommendation forms are filled by many TV channels and newspapers and individuals can register their complaints in them and then these channels can easily identify the flaws in them. Media is the most powerful medium of communication and education. This is a notion we all have heard and accepted.
The role of media in creating awareness and in instigating violence and other wrongdoings is also established. The concept of developing media literacy and engaging with the viewers on their perceptions of media is a relatively newer subject. But efforts should be made by the regulatory authorities to actually control the affairs of the media and they must sue those channels that are going towards unequal distribution of media. Government should pose strict regulations on channels and on individuals that are directly involved in diversification of media. Conclusion
Thus, in a nutshell we can say that media is promoting ethnic problems in the world and radio, televisions, internet, newspapers and other mediums of media some way or another are actually involved in unequal behavior as far as minorities is considered. The minorities of all the countries are considering media as a menace as it hurts their self belief and they are psychologically disturbed by its attitude. A person who is in power controls the media and displays unequal behavior. In films and television few actors and actress are from minority groups the rest of them are from the majority.
Similarly, major roles are offered to people who are in majority. Afro Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans are the major minorities in American and they are treated as a minority especially in media. They are often offered less wage rates and lesser promotions in media. The staggering elements is that this issue is in full swing in our society and people are least concerned about it we as individuals must curtail this element on individual basis and we must raise our voices to overcome this menace.
In todays world minorities are not treated fairly by most of the nations and media speaks loud about voices that are not in supreme power. Media thus plays a major role in the dissemination of information as well as portraying diversity in society. Media displays people with disabilities as helpless individuals and it also discriminates between sexual orientation thats why women receive lesser jobs as compared to men.
However, the actual purpose of media is to integrate individuals in order to attain betterment in the society but media on the other hand is propagating things and this attitude of media is giving birth to an unequal society. Therefore, media should work hard for the betterment of the society and should implement programs related to it. Social service programs and media awareness must be given to individuals that are related to this field and they must be trained to minimize discrimination. Diversification in negative terms can be less effective and in the longer run it would hurt the society.
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