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Media and Combating Corruption

With the technological advances of the 20th century, and those anticipated in the 21st, media has become a most potent weapon both in peace and in war. However its role as the guardians of the oppressed carries most relevance for civilization. Working without any fear or restraint a free media is the best check on excess of any kind by anyone or any entity having the potential and the inclination to inflict excess. What to talk about individuals, even nations feel the heat that the media can generate on any wrongdoing. Conversely, influence over a “free” media allows the generating of excess without undue hue and cry.

The mass media, in particular the printed press, enjoys a special status which gives them protection against conventional social policies. This freedom is a vital element a safeguard of human rights in a democratic and civil society, media autonomy must be respected and defended. The exceptional degree of autonomy carries duties and responsibilities that calls for regulation both on legal and ethical levels i.e. the media must also be accountable. It would be both sociologically and politically naive to place media outside of any social controls. Accountability can conceptually be divided into various levels and aspects, including law and ethics. The mass media is regulated by legal and financial means to a degree determined by the political balance of power prevailing in each society. And there is little that the professional and academic community can do about it, but there is an untapped potential for indirect participation in the democratic process of media accountability through media criticism. The media criticism called for is not the kind of politically motivated interest group advocacy that is well known everywhere but scientifically based description and assessment of media performance, carried out by methods of content analysis. The reasoning follows the correspondence theory of truth: comparing media coverage with extramedia data. However, truth checking can be left aside, why pay so much attention to content, especially at a time of media concentration and globalization? The mass-mediated content constitutes a strategic part of broader reasoning about freedom and accountability, and ultimately media’s role in democracy.

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