Free Media-Government Relationship Essay Sample
This is an essay on the relationship between the government and the media. The essay will analyze "The Report of the Commission on Freedom of the Press" as presented by the Hutchins commission of 1947. It will consider the relevance of the report's details to the modern times. The essay will also establish if an adversarial relationship between the government and the media guarantees any truth or objectivity. Adversarial relationship is a relationship characterized by opposition or conflicts. It will also determine the existence of censorship in the USA and how this censorship differs from one form of media to another. Consequently, it will define who exercises this censorship if it exists. Censorship refers to government control of the information sent and ideas circulated within a society. - The essay will compare foreign governments-press relations to the relationship in the USA. Conclusively, the essay will gauge how the press fares in England, France, Russia, and in China.
The report on the freedom of the press as presented by the commission chairman, Hutchins, was prepared over a period of five years. The commission was mandated to look into the freedom of the press and comprised of a dozen intellectuals. The commission found out and unanimously reported the following: They recommended that a licensing scheme be created on the Federal Communications Commission where the newspapers media would abide. They observed that the freedom of the press can only continue within some set stands and limits. They also recommended the government to start controlling the relevance and significance of the news presented to the society. They also noted that the press was to blame for lawlessness in US. They concluded by recommending the creation of a new and independent agency to analyze the performance of the press annually. However the report was disowned by the press and disappointed the benefactor. Hence the recommendations were rarely acted upon. The report has largely been used in studies but not in journalism practice (Bates, 1994). Notably is that if this report was written today, a few details would have changed. This is because although the press has considerably advanced, it is still providing services which are not adequate to society's needs. It is offering pornographic materials to underage children. This calls for regulation and controls. At the same time, different controls have been put in place to monitor the freedom of the press as earlier recommended in the report. However a good number in the press is presenting relevant news to the society like the CNN and BBC.
There has been and still exists adversarial relationship between the government and the media. The government and the media have never been on agreement on the contents of what to report (On the media, 2006). While the media acts as the governments' watch dog, the government believes that the media forces its views in the news by misquoting the government and spreading propaganda. Thus the media is deemed to be biased and not factual. The governments' policies are always questioned by the media with the media noting that the government always hinds some negative facts in the policies it presents to the society. However, in most cases the press reports what its customers want to know due to the increased competition and hence its truthfulness has been questioned (On the media, 2006). Thus, as noted above the adversarial relationship between the government and the media does not guarantee truth as the media will always force its views in the news for commercial purposes. The fact that the government does not release all the information to the media and a time disseminates fake news (Shah, 2006); gives the media a chance to present its own story which is not necessarily the truth. Similarly, the media has lacked objectivity. It misquotes the government even for fun purposes to please their customers, make more profits and please the owners (American Heritage Magazine, 1994). They miss the objectivity as they spread propaganda (Shah, 2009).
There has been censorship of the media in the USA to some extent by the government and the media elite (Phillips, 2010).Different forms of the press are censored differently. Therefore, there is no formal censorship in the USA and the market censorship by the media elite in America is partly applied by ignoring the inconsistency in the official story. However, the Federal Communication Commission censors both the television and radio broadcast. The US government has censored indecent pornography, child pornography but has no control on internet pornography (Danz, 2010). America online has also censored messages- It has been removing messages that criticize Israel.
The government-media relationship varies from one country to another. In the US, despite the growing notion that the media has an adversarial relationship with the government, it keeps to the Washington's official line as demonstrated during wars and foreign policy stands. Similarly, in domestic controversies the debates centers on the leadership of the two main political parties in the US. The US press has evolved, diversified and is less controlled by the government compared to the tight controls applied by other foreign governments on their media (Global Media Journal, 2006; Nichols and Mcchesney, 2010). In China, the government has excessively controlled the press. In Russia, the government owes, influences and controls the media. It is observed that Russia is the worst environment for a journalist with self-censorship. However, significant steps have been made in light of press freedom. In France and England, press has advanced and serves the purpose in the presence of few government controls (France travel, 2010; England travel, 2010).