Political and Economic Effect on Mass Media

PAt the beginning of XXI century communication processes perform an important role in regulation of state and economic interests. The modern world of information builds its own priorities, based on new types of opportunities of the media and media content. Media content are messages produced by mass media such as Internet, newspapers, magazines, books, video entertainments and television. People have great opportunities of getting information they need in short time.

Mass media are important functions of political literacy of citizens and an important channel of political communication (Louw,2010). Without Internet, television, newspapers and magazines, even well-educated people can not properly navigate the complex mosaic of conflicting political processes to make responsible decisions. Media allow them to think outside the box directly to individual experience doing foreseeable world politics, but through the prism of their own vision of political reality. However, there are powers that can affect mass media and it’s content.

Media content can be affected by political and economic factors in these ways: the articulation of the public interest, government control on the media, political way of communication with society, economic environment. Therefore, the aim of the essay is to theorize, explain and provide concrete examples of how media can be affected by economic and political factors. Media content is the basis of modern operation policy as citizens receive political information, form their own political views and beliefs, and are able to influence the functioning of the government largely due to the media.

A. Sen (1999) in his book “Development as Freedom” noted about political communication what involves not one-sided signals from the elite to the masses, and the whole range of informal communication processes in society that have a very different impact on policy. Louw divided political practice into two types: elite politics and mass politics. “Elite politics is aimed to make a policy while mass politics is a mass audience that can be manipulated, directed and distracted” (2010,pp. 16).

Unfortunately, elite politics can abuse the power it has on hiding the truth. As example can be used an accident happened with a famous journalist Anna Politovskaya. She was writing truth about “Dirty War” between Russian and Chechnya, while Vladimir V. Putin was a president of Russia, and was killed in 7 of October 2006 by the murder who is yet unknown (NYtimes, 2009). At the turn of XXI century we can see a tendency to use media for political campaign and president elections to affect people’s choice.

The 2009 Presidential election, Obama’s spin-team directed by campaign advisor of Barak Obama -David Axelrod, developed enormously expensive full spectrum campaign using all options including political marketing techniques and mass media. Obama’s team promoted the concept that not voting for Obama translated into racial discrimination (Louw,2010). The budget of 3 million dollars was spent for the online mass media. More than 1800 videos, audience could watch in Youtube (Croteau, Hoynes and Milan, 2012), and one of the most popular music videos with celebrities, which over 24 million people watched, called “Yes We Can” (WeCan08 2008).

On the other hand, elite politics usually do beneficial laws and regulations for audience by creating restrictions and boundaries on media such as controlling the censorship in videos, radio stations, news and publications. Censorship is the limitation of speech or other ways of communication, which can be identified as harmful and sensitive and controlled by government or other controlling body (censorshipinamerica, n. d. ). The video “ The Innocence of Muslims”, which brought lots of sparking riots, was blocked in Youtube by some countries. In other countries due to this video governments banned Youtube.

(York, 2012). Another example is that Chinese government spends huge amount of resources into controlling censorship in the online media content available to its citizens (Chen, 2011). Some governments blocks online media or tv media for their citizens due to specific reasons. The Chinese Government blocked access to Google due to the top popularity among users (BBCnews, 2002). Political actions between specific countries and the hostile international relations, which later can be a part of the history, are important factors that can affect media content. As example might be used an impact of terrorism on mass media.

Terrorism is an action of using violence, danger to fright or to force usually for political interest ( Seib and Janbek, 2011). The terrorist attack that killed nearly 3000 people at the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 11th September 2001 and declaration of the war in Afganistan (BBC, n. d. ) influenced media in a whole world. When George W. Bush blamed Al Qaida terrorist network created by Osama bin Laden about 9/11 attack ( Seib and Janbek, 2011), the media oozed hatred calling for anti Arab and Muslim people. The word “Jidahist” was highlighted in newspapers. As P. Bergen and J.

Rowland wrote, the meaning of the word “Jidahist” is terrorist associated with or motivated by Al Qaeda (Bergen & Rowland, 2012). Sumbul Ali-Karamali in the CNN blog wrote a post about American Muslim’s lives in fear after 9/11 2001 (Ali-Kamarali, 2012). These political-historical time and religion prejudice became the main motivation in 2010 to create a Bollywood movie with the famous actor Shahrukh Khan called “My name is Khan” (MNIK, n. d. ). This movie is about post 9/11 prejudice, and it carries an important essence that Muslim people are not “Jihadist” (funmuch, 2010).

Therefore, Rizwan, the hero of that movie, wants to prove that if the name is Islamic doesn’t mean that he or she is a terrorist. Thus, he takes challenges to meet the president and say to him “My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist” (funmuch,2010). Media industry plays a significant role and also dominates in the market place. This business, as well as others, have competitors, earn profit, produce goods and sale these to the society. Without doubt the media firms and its content can be affected by economic factors such as size of the market, inflation, high fixed cost and economic growth (Sloman and Wride, 2009).

The number of media outlets and industries mainly depend on increasing or decreasing of market size. Thus, markets with larger population have more different media products than less populated markets (GAO,2008). Therefore, in larger market there is a product differentiation that changes the media content. For example, mass media produces magazines narrowly targeted to any taste of audience such as Forbes business magazine, Cosmopolitan fashion magazine, Hit FM or Retro FM radio stations and others. Another factor of influencing the media industries is high fixed cost.

Fixed cost is the cost of producing a single unit of production ignoring the total number produced (Sloman and Wride, 2009). Usually newspapers and cable television industries have high fixed cost and it may affect number of media products than media content (Albarran, 2002). Advertising income is important for the survival of media. Therefore, during inflation period advertising presence can dramatically decrease from the content of media, because inflation factor refers to a general rise in the level of prices for goods and services.

During the inflation, media industries on the specific amount of money purchase less resources and goods than before (Albaraan, 2002). Advertising and economic growth are best friends in the market. Moreover, advertising is the one of demand determinants in economy (Albaraan, 2009). Society makes the choice for which goods and service to pay with the help of advertising. Nowadays, advertising is the power of economics. Greater supply of advertising in media content is usually inside of successful and popular media industries such as Cosmopolitan, Facebook, MTV channel and others.

It follows people everywhere; in underground trains, newspapers, Internet, television, before movies and even inside movies. The advertising of branded goods or service placed inside movies, music, TV shows is called product placement. Companies pay lots of money to present their product inside of the Hollywood films( Croteau, Hoynes and Milan, 2012). For example Apple product placement can be found in movies such as “Sex in the City”, “Breaking Down, Twilight saga”, “Mission Impossible” and many others Hollywood movies and TV shows.

It is clear to see that main tasks of media content in the policy are the motivation of people to certain political actions and controlling of transmitted information or censorship using media. Main economic factors of media content are size of the market and economic growth. Media content has great possibilities to influence the minds and feelings of the people in their way of thinking, methods and evaluation criteria, the style and the specific motivations of political behavior. Therefore, there are negative and positive possibilities of political and economic factors to manage information of media content.

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