Media, ICT and Policy – Hoorcolleges
31 augustus 2020 – Hoorcollege 1 – Intro to Media, ICT and Policy
Policy is a more or less structured set of means and resources that are used to influence specific
societal developments and solve problems in a desired or planned way.
To get fair and good policies, you need to separate power over different branches. In a democracy
you have three of these branches who are called the pillars of democracy:
By dividing the power, you will prevent one branch of group of people to gain all power in a way they
will be abusing it. The separation of power was initiated by Montesquieu in the 18th century in the
L’Esprit des Lois. He was convinced that people who have power will be misusing it because people
are evil. Therefore you need power to stop power and keep each other accountable. Added to
Montesquieu’s idea was the adding of the media as fourth branch of the government.
Media are the enterprises involved in reporting, printing, publishing or broadcasting news. These
entities consist of reporters, managers, editors, produces and owners, each of whom influence the
final product-information.” (Oswald; 2009; p. 385)
Literature Lecture 1
1. Is media reporting objective? Who decides what is news and what makes something
Media is not objective because of several reasons:
Every journalist has its own values, so it will be difficult for journalists to completely analyze
an story without involving their personal values and views.
Financing: its important what economical impact an article will have because they are
commercial parties who have to make profit.
Even by deciding what stories will be reported, the media is being subjective since it has to
make decisions. When you make decisions you are making a judgement based on your
beliefs and values.
At the end the commercial goals of a media conglomerate will influence the reporting of certain
stories and in a way in which they are reported. There are ways and projects to avoid this big
business in the gathering of objective news. For example crowdfunded media (de Correspondent). Of
course the government is also influencing on the way media can report. Media get their information
mainly from the government. These sources can try to manipulate the media and subject them to all
kinds of regulations. Governments who subsidies media businesses, make them reliable on the
government which may be the reason why they wont be to harsh for the government.
2. Oswold writes p. 390 “It could even be argued that the media have more power in setting
the political agenda than the national government.” Do you agree? Why (not)?
Oswold said in his article that the government is one of the highest delivers of newsworthy
information and have therefore much influence in what the media report. But the media still have an
important role as the ones who decide what is being reported. Media do have influence on what is
talked about, but have less or even none influence on the outcome. On the other hand, they can
defend a certain outcome and give arguments based on facts. This could influence the outcome.
Media have power by:
Creating the reality in which government leaders act
Playing the role of public opinion representatives and Having the ability to directly contact
Giving attention to particular issues
Acting as a link between governmental bureaucracies
(usually) Protected by freedom of speech laws
The government have power by:
Media reinforces rather than challenges established views.
“The media speaks with a thousand voices, in constant dissonance. It has no power to arrest
you, tax you, or even make you fill in a form, unless voluntarily.” (Eric Sevareid (CBS))
In any case, whether, at any particular time, the government is influencing the media or the
media influencing the government, public policy is affected.
Government officials in the legislative and executive branch rely on the media because they
represent the people and the media gives them an idea what people think and care about.
Therefore media can be seen as the fourth branch of government. Media needs to complement and
aid to search for the truth and ensure a democratic policy making process. This process won’t be fair
if not scrutinized by the media. Still media should not be left unchecked. If they are left free, they will
not be fair.