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Roles the Media Play in Elections The media play an indispensable role in the proper functioning of a democracy. Yet the media also have other roles in enabling full public participation in elections: The media are not the sole source of information for voters, but in a world dominated by mass communications, it is increasingly the media that determine the political agenda, even in less technologically developed countries.
The media plays a major role in keeping the citizenry abreast of current events and raising awareness of various issues in any society. The media is the primary means through which public opinion is shaped and at times manipulated. Elections constitute a basic challenge to the media, putting its impartiality and objectivity to the test.
The task of the media, especially national media outlets, is not and should not be to function as a mouthpiece for any government body or particular candidate. Its basic role is to enlighten and educate the public and act as a neutral, objective platform for the free debate of all points of view.
The numerous ways in which media ensure democratic electoral processes generally fall into one of the following categories: Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Transparency is required on many levels including for access to information; accountability and legitimacy of individuals, institutions and processes themselves; and for rightful participation and public debate.
Transparency as required for access to information means that an electorate is provided necessary and comprehensive information so as to make informed choices as well as be able to hold officials and institutions accountable.
This includes access to legal and operational proceedings as well as information about officials and institutions. Specific to elections, an EMB for example, is obligated to inform the public on their actions, decisions, and plans. Individuals appointed or elected to an EMB body are public figures who should be working in the interests of the public.
As such, information regarding their affiliations, histories, and performance while in office, is to be freely accessed by the public. Media acts as a mechanism for the prevention and investigation of allegations of violations or malpractice. For example, media presence at voting and counting centres is critical to preventing electoral fraud, given that full measures protecting freedom of speech are guaranteed, and that media are free to act independently and with impartiality.
An election cannot be deemed democratic unless the public is fully able to participate and is unhindered in exercising choice.
As such, media are vital in ensuring that there is a public, i. Candidates are to represent the public. Transparency of an election helps ensures that this indeed is so. Furthermore, transparency of individual processes such as voting, counting, registering, candidate nomination, campaigning and so forth further protects and enables public participation in these processes.
A poignant example, involving elections in Serbia inillustrates these key aspects of transparency: The ANEM network, a media cluster consisting of a news agency, several independent dailies and weeklies, and a television station, helped to give Serbians news from outside state-dominated channels.
In Septemberindependent media coverage of official vote fraud brought outraged Serbians into the streets. Without these media outlets, popular mobilization would have been much harder. Besides meeting directly with members of the electorate, candidates and parties accomplish this task through campaigns via media.
It is paramount to democratic electoral processes therefore, that all candidates and parties are provided equal access to media for this endeavour. Candidates and parties use the mass media for campaigning through sponsored direct access spots, paid political advertising, televised debates, use of social media, and other mechanisms.
They also hope the media will voluntarily cover them because of the newsworthiness of their campaign activities. Political parties expend vast human and financial resources on planning and executing mass media campaigns.From Howcast, produced by Howcast This video provides a step-by-step guide for writing a cover letter to include with your resume.
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