Question: Why should the media be accountable?
Answer: The media in a democracy is accountable to the government and the people- i.e., there are laws that govern the media. The government has laid down laws and codes of conduct, like the Newspaper and Broadcasting Code of 1962 to regulate the media. The media especially television and newspapers, is a very powerful medium of communication. Programmes shown on television and articles published in newspapers send strong messages that can influence the thinking of the public.
As a general rule, the media should not try to incite people to violence with their tone of coverage. Any misinformation by the media would weaken the mutual trust and cooperation among the people and threaten the unity of the nation.
That is why a balanced reporting of news, keeping in mind media ethics, is crucial in a democracy. Media should be socially responsible and responsive.
Question: What is a blog?
Answer: A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries. Blogging is a powerful new media tool in the hands of public. Some people air their views on the government, and its decisions and activities on such blogs.
Question: What is meant by unbiased information? Why should the media be unbiased.
Answer: One of the primary aims of the media should be to serve public interest. Public interest means the well-being of the general public. Media, for the sake of public interest should not be concentrated in a few hands. In other words, the media should cover as many different viewpoints as possible. For this, there should be many equally powerful providers of media. If controlled by few powerful groups, the media coverage will be biased. It will only give the viewpoint which serves its own purpose, not the public’s interest. For example: If the media in a country is controlled by a powerful baby food making company, and a journalist finds out that the baby food the company sells can harm babies, the journalist’s story will not be aired by the media. The company controlling the media decides what the public will be told. So here, though it is in the public’s interest to be informed about the baby food, the public will never know the truth because the story will be supressed.
If the media fails to cover different viewpoints and provide unbiased information, it will weaken democracy.
Question: What is the Right to Information Act? Explain its benefits.
Answer: This landmark Act which was passed in October 2005, has given the people the right to information. People could now demand to know what is happening in government bodies. According to this act, a citizen of India has the right to demand information for any government body. The government body has to provide the information within thirty days. If it is a life threatening matter, the answer should be provided within 24 hours. However, this does not include information that might compromise the country’s security. This act has helped make the working of the government offices more transparent and accountable.
Question: How does the media protect the democratic interests of the people?
Answer: The media is the principal source of political information and public debate. By passing on expert opinion to the public, it becomes a key to democracy in the hands of informed and participating citizens.
Thus, it protects the democratic interest of the people. In modern democracies, the media covers many aspects of life, including political, social, economic and cultural.