From the Newspaper November 5, 2010 (4 weeks ago) Media and politics WE live in times when political events and conflicts are not simply reported but also enacted and performed in the media. The mass media, especially television journalism, is now intricately implicated in structures of dominance and political conflicts. The latest example of such `mediatised` conflicts were the clash between the government and the judiciary over the unsubstantiated news that the former had plans to reverse the restoration of the Supreme Court judges.
In the wake of the `breaking news` most television news channels held lengthy live broadcasts on the issue thus further exacerbating the conflict. What has made television news channels and a segment of their print media counterparts powerful enough to affect the relationships between state institutions? What does the prevalent media-saturated environment of politics imply for the democratic transition in Pakistan? A critical public debate on these and other related questions is urgently required at the present conjuncture.
Media research scholarship advances the view that the political power of television journalism and related media is mainly embedded in their intertwined functions of news framing and political-agenda setting. Framing in particular is crucial in influencing public opinion and political communication. Framing is an alternative way of presenting political events and issues, endogenous to the given social and political environment.
In the case of electricity load shedding, for example, audiences may be presented with frames of reference such as power pricing, bad governance and corruption, adverse impacts on industries, lack of domestic energy resources, etc,. The frames employed by the media reflect a privileging of certain aspects of an issue and the concurrent neglect of other aspects. Unlike conventional reporting, media frames inevitably entail an inherent bias. They are also templates for the content that decides the story line.
It is now almost an empirical fact that the particular frame repeatedly imposed on an issue or event can influence public opinion and political processes. Media researchers have reached a broad consensus that framing is an extension of, or second-level, agenda setting. In Pakistan, the emergence and growth of private television news industry occurred under the military-led regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf. Most of the frames now being used in television journalism were in fact formed under that dictatorial political environment.
They revolve around certain conflicts and set the agenda in a way that promotes an anti-politics bias. The play of politics is depicted as a dishonest and dishonorable business. Politicians are assumed to act out of self-interest rather than on the basis of political convictions. It is repeatedly claimed that politicians are not to be trusted because they make false promises. Reporters and anchorpersons pit political opponents against one another as a means of undermining all political claims.
Whenever a politician makes a statement, media persons turn to his adversaries to challenge and attack it. In this way, anchorpersons and reporters become direct participants/actors in politics. What we see in the news coverage of politics in some major Pakistani television channels is actually a sort of attack journalism that has its roots in the history of the American press. Attack journalism is a mindset and involves practices that go beyond ordinary partisanship, criticism, debate and investigation.
It is aimed at prejudicing the public against their targets and thereby destroying them politically. Newsweek Washington Post The nature of investigation under attack journalism remains selective and inquisitional and aims to convict and punish the target. Robert Samuelson, a contributing editor of and the , writes that all democracies need to examine their elected officials; the enduring dilemma, he says, is how to prevent legitimate enquiry from sliding into sanctioned tyranny.
Since the election of February 2008, the majority of news media has been at loggerheads with the democratic government on several issues. The government alleges that certain television channels are involved in muckraking and attack journalism. The ruling party has recently decided to boycott one of the main media groups as a protest against its press abuses. On the other hand, the media group in question depicts itself as the champion of press freedom and claims to be performing the role of watchdog in the larger public interest.
Pakistan is currently undertaking its latest democratic experiment. Without press freedom, a smooth transition to democracy will remain merely a pipedream. However, without democracy, the existence of a free media is inconceivable. While the democratic government will have to bear the free press for the sake of democracy, the news media must also demonstrate responsibility and refrain from agenda setting. Thomas E. Patterson, a professor of government and media studies, says that the news media has little justification for its arrogant portrayal of politics and hijacking the role of politicians.
It ought to be more humble, for it fails to meet fully the standards of accountability and representation in democratic systems. The Role of Media and Technology in Education Keywords: Bates, Technology, Media, asynchronous, synchronous, medium, structure and organization of knowledge. This reading is part of the Module Handbook of Educational Broadcasting. In this chapter Bates discusses the roles of media and Technology he defines the concepts and links them to the educational field. He describes the nature of both concepts, their attributes and characteristics.
As he explicitly says, the outcomes are based in his personal experience and a qualitative research. He used the Plato’s dialogue of Pheadrus to explain how writing was used as an educational technology vs. memorization. He says we construct our knowledge by recurring to different ways of approaching the same phenomenon, such as reading about heat properties and touching something hot. Then he claims that face-to-face education is not better or worse than technology assisted learning, it is simply different.
He goes over 5 primary types of educational media (Direct face-to-face, Text (including graphics), Analogue Audio, Analogue video, Digital multimedia) and he gives an explanation of asynchronous and synchronous technologies. Useful quotes: • In our view, speech, writing drama, radio and television programming, computer programming, and Web-based courses are all media, or more strictly, symbols systems that uniquely define specific media. Classrooms, books, theatres, cinemas, radio sets and transmitters, cable, satellites, television monitors, computers computer software and computer networks are all technologies.
P48 • Technology are physical things … they do not communicate, Media however are means of communication. They require a source of information, a means of transmitting information (including symbol systems), and a receiver that is, someone who is interested in, has access to, and knows how to interpret the communication. P48 • Although there is usually an assumption that media will use technology of some kind for the means of transmission and communication, media may not be related necessarily to any specific technology. P49 Indeed for deep understanding, we often need to learn in different ways about the same concept… In this context, more probably means better. The more ways we can learn about a subject or topic, the more deeply we are likely to understand. P51 • Learning through technology is not necessarily better or worse than face-to-face education; it is, though different. P51 • How media, however defined, can be used to facilitate knowledge-construction and meaning making on the part of the learner? P51 • The issue of the volume of information is also critical.
P53 • Communication technologies are good for information transmission P54 • There is evidence that within a particular medium (such as video) certain technologies have educational advantages over others. For instance, in research at the British Open University, Bates (1984) and co-researchers, consistently found that students rated recorded formats (video-and audiocassettes) better for learning purposes than broadcast formats due to the extra control they had over when and how they could use the material.
P58-59 • From an educational perspective, each medium represents the world in different ways P59 • We use the term multimedia to describe the combinations of text still graphics, animation, audio, and video within a simple technology, such as a computer or television. The value of multimedia is that it allows for the representation of knowledge in a variety of ways. Students can learn about abstract principles through text and see the application of those principles through an animation or a video example.
This variety presents the opportunity for deeper levels of understanding particularly if the presentational qualities are fully and deliberately exploited to achieve this purpose and are combined with the potential for learner interaction. P60 • Interaction is a term frequently used to describe an advantage of computer based learning, but it is very rarely adequately defined or understood in an educational context. P68