Politico-economic influences on the media Politico-economic factors that affect media include the idea of media ownership, media market and financial support. The manner in which the media operates is heaped by their owners, market environments and financial support. In this environment, the media manufactures culture content that sustain the system ‘capitalism’. (Curran Bibb: Chomsky, 2003). The media is in the business of maximize profit Just like any other business organization in capitalism. Williams, 2003; Machines, 2003; Moscow, 1996, Hexagonally, 2007) Machines (2003) and Williams (2003) argue that Economic factors/market forces impact on the media in ways in which it becomes an industry, the media therefore, operates as an economic institution in the business of cultural production. Owners of media too can affect the media to only air their political biases. Edward Herman argued in the early sass that there were five politico- economic filters through which news passed before it was presented in the mainstream media.
First is the size and ownership of the mass media. Here issues such as media convergence, concentration and the free market come in. Depending on the media ownership patterns, the bosses can choose to sponsor or fund some programmer while neglecting others. This will affect the operation of the media as some of the programmer neglected may not be considered s important and might even be forced to be pulled out of the programming schedules. However, media can take a stand on issues by using the opinion columns and programmer to present the view of the public.
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Belles and Chadwick (1992) expounded on the free market idea by stating that “A free market brings with it a free press that supplies the diversity of opinion and access to information that a citizenry requires in order to act in a democratic, responsible manner. The free market, journalism and democracy form an interdependent trinity of institutions in an open society. On the downside, a free market brings about the oligopolies structure of global media, where a small number of people or organizations have a disproportionately high level of influence or control over the world’s media.
As a result of competition, increasing costs and mergers, the number of media has dropped sharply with many major cities being served by only a few daily papers like Political, Cultural, Economic and Legal/ Administrative Factors Affecting the Process and Structure of Mass Media in Kenya By Graham whether concentration discourages diversity of opinion and ultimately leads to the management of the news by media corporations. Free market oligopoly means that bigger media organizations take over smaller ones, hence fewer organizations control more of the world’s media.
Media organizations abide by the same free market principles where media content is a commodity to be sold. This highlights the diminishing importance of public service media. Secondly, advertising as the primary income source of the mass media funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power. Television and all media is generally audience driven; the larger the audience, the higher the rates charged for commercial time and the rater the profits. Critics have charged that this situation reduces hard news coverage and requires flashier packaging of the news.
For example, local TV stations give considerably less airtime to political news than to the weather report, sport scores, and human interest stories. Indeed, the line between news and entertainment programming is becoming increasingly blurred. Growing numbers of young viewers say they receive their political information from comedy programming like Churchill and formerly Redisplays. Thirdly is the dependence of the media on information provided by government, easiness and experts funded and approved by these primary sources.
Fourth, ‘Flak as a means of disciplining the media. “Flak” refers to negative responses to a media statement or program (Criticism, condemnation, censure or hostility). If flak is generated on a large scale, it can be uncomfortable and costly for the media. Flak is mainly through political structures through the government and the personalities in power, and this tends to dictate the media’s content. This can either be through the use of censorship, harassment of Journalists, regulation or even economic sanctions.
This can also be in the form of State oligopoly, where we have state controlled media and heavy censorship, where dissenting voices are forced to operate from the underground press. The Political environment and climate of a country can affect how media operates. First, the Government can make sanctions that affect the media house directly. These sanctions can include taxation, regulations on publications, cost of news print and this is with the main intention to prevent media from having so much control and freedom on what they produce or broadcast.
Politicians being public figures and news makers, do give the media issues o dwell on. For example the media in Kenya has been focusing on the political campaigns and more the presidential campaign that was aired in all radio and Television stations. The focus of discussion after the debate was on the content of the arguments made by the presidential aspirants. Fifth is ideological control. Politics is full of propaganda, which is manipulation of public opinion.
Propaganda is generally carried out through media because it is capable of reaching a large number of people and effectively persuading them for or against a cause. Politicians wrought their influence in the media can influence public opinion by their messages. The five filters narrow the range of news which are covered by the mass media and particularly limit ‘big news. ‘ News from the establishment sources meets major filter unrecognized groups is at a disadvantage in terms of sourcing, cost and credibility. Such news may also fail to comply with the politics and the interests of advertisers and major sources of flak.
Other political factors affecting media structure and composition are: Mistrust Funding from politicians Ownership and politics in decision making Recruitment Censorship – Manacled Kibbutz and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCSC) Gate keeping and employment Politics and editorial policy Political environment and reporting Cultural factors Mass media forms the main channel of cultural representation and expression and the primary source of images of social reality and materials for forming and maintaining social identity.
Everyday social life is strongly patterned by the routines of media use and it is infused by its contents through the way leisure time is spent, lifestyles are influenced, conversation is given its topics and models of behavior are offered for all contingencies. Culture is the way of life off community. Culture can be: a) societal culture or media/]aeronautics culture e. G. : Preconceived and widely accepted notion that journalists are drunkards and womanliness in Kenya. The media plays a pivotal part in the transmission of cultural values within a society; this is known as the colonization role of the media.
Many theories have been advanced on how the mass media affect the people, especially children in formative years. For example, the hypodermic needle theory insists that humans will consume whatever comes from the mass Edie wholly without interrogating it. Media affects culture and the cultures of a people also affect the process and structure of media. The kind of mass media products that a society consumes is affected by the values in that society. Within the Kenya society the TV channels have programs whose casting is affected by the acceptable values in the Kenya society.
Certain programs with violence and a lot of sexual undertones are not expected to be aired at certain times. This is why movies with such tendencies are programmed to be aired late at night after minors are expected to have gone to bed. Certain movies even though they can be shown in other world markets can be censored by the Kenya Film Classification Board based on the level of violence, nudity, sex, profanity and drugs use in the film. This happens as the culture of Kenya does not glorify these acts.
The content in the programs provided is also affected by the culture or expectations of the viewers. The Kenya TV viewer is accustomed to watching soap operas, mostly foreign Just before the main news at 9. 00 p. M. This is a trend that started at one TV station and all the other major channels followed suit as these soap operas seem to peep viewers glued on the screen enhancing the channels’ ratings, translating into pm last only 1 hour and the English news bulletin of 9 pm lasting 2 hours? Is this favoring foreign culture at the expense of local? Ђ Poor pay of Journalists leading to corruption and giving/taking bribes Hiring of less qualified personnel The culture of a society also influences the content provided by the mass media. Looking at the programming in the TV stations, there is a lot of local programming today. The demands by the viewers of the content acceptable and known to them is riving the content producers to come up with local shows sometimes in local languages especially Swahili. The appetite for local content amongst the Kenya population also shows that they want to watch what they are in touch with.
More Kenya are seeing the influx of foreign programs in the market as foreign intrusion and propagating of cultural imperialism and it is such thinking that ignites the development of local content for the TV industry. The news being run in the media is affected by the culture of the people. The way the news appears in the News papers or on TV and Radio depends a lot whether the item an be treated as news. Political reporting takes a lot of time during the news hour. Politicians have celebrity status in Kenya and any news on them is very interesting.
News papers always carry headlines on politicians or political parties. Sometimes the Kenya media almost borders on political sensationalism because it seems newspapers sell of such days and people listen to more radio and watch more TV. The organizational culture of a media house will also influence the structure and process of mass media. The editorial team and their mandate as per their Job descriptions will affect a lot what is eventually seen in the mass media. If an editor gives his or her team freedom of choice in topics and angles of looking at features, then the audience will be treated to a variety of views.
If, on the other hand, an editor is strict on what topic he wants to be captured and under what nuances, political or otherwise, he wants it to be covered, then the public or the audience have to make do with what they are given. This means the subjects featured depend on the organizations and its beliefs. This is the gate-keeping role of the media. The editors who are also traditional gate keepers can be placed strategically through the influence on the political will so as to effect the will of some personalities.
With the right people in place, the media owners or political personalities will be sure that nothing negative against them will pass through the editorial desk. Similarly, political influence in the employment or promotion of staff also does affect the structure of media. With the right people in place, politicians or media owners can be sure that their agenda will carry the day and they will get favorable coverage while watering down that of their opponents. Professionalism is not at all times considered when ring or promoting staff as political influence, might override the former.
The celebrity culture in the world today affects the structure and process of news and mass media content. Kenya urban youth have embraced the celebrity culture and keenly follow on the trends set by the celebrities. Kenya media houses have also employed this same tactic to attract the audiences. Celebrity media personalities personalities who never stepped into school of Journalism and do not understand the basic rules of the profession, but they strut the media industry with the authority of seasoned Journalists.
The irony of their acceptance is easily solved. It is because the audience loves their mien and what they know does not matter. The social media has affected the social culture of the people and this is how we end up with these personalities in the media industry. Examples abound in our media today; Jalapeño, Churchill are Just a few. Regulation of radio and television Practically from its inception, the broadcast media has been subject to regulation. During the early days of radio, stations operated on the same frequencies and often jammed each other’s signals.
The Federal Radio Act (1927) set up licensing reoccurred to allocate frequencies under the premise that the airwaves belong to the public. The current regulatory framework was established by the 1934 Federal Communications Act, which established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates the industry in several ways. It limits the number of radio and television stations a company can own, has rules governing public service and local programming, and reviews station operations as part of licensing process.
Under the ‘Equal time rule,’ stations are required to give all candidates for political office access o airtime on the same terms. The fairness doctrine obligated broadcasters to present conflicting points of view on important public issues, but the FCC abolished the doctrine in 1987 with the support of President Ronald Reagan for two reasons: 1) it was considered a violation of freedom of the press, and 2) competition in the broadcast media ensured diversity of opinion.
In recent years, the FCC levied significant fines on broadcasters for profanity and indecency. Attempts by the Congress to regulate the content of the Internet have not passed Supreme Court view. In America, newspapers and magazines are largely protected from government interference by the First Amendment. For example, in 1971, the Nixon administration attempted to prevent The New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers, which are classified documents on the American policy in Vietnam.
The Supreme Court refused to block their publication, noting that prior restraint was a violation of freedom of the press. The press cannot print stories that are known to be false or are intentionally damaging to a person’s petition, however content is also controlled by obscenity statutes. In Kenya, the Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (KIP) Act, Cap 411 , Laws of Kenya, Section 86, vested authority to the defunct KIP to manage the entire radio frequency resource and issue radio communication licenses.
Thus broadcasting service providers who wanted to use the radio frequency resource were subject to KEPT in terms of assignment of frequencies. Following the repeal of the KIP Act and enactment of the Kenya Communications Act of 1998 (AKA 1998), the Communications Commission of Kenya (KC) was created. KC took over the mandate of management of radio frequency spectrum as well as assignment of the frequencies, including broadcasting. Proposed KC as the converged regulator for the CIT sector.
This was realized when the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Bill 2007 was passed by parliament, effectively enacting it into law. It includes legal provisions to make KC a broadcasting regulator. The current broadcasting licensing mechanism is a two stage process involving the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Communications Commission of Kenya (KC). The Ministry issues broadcasting remits whereas Cock’s role is confined to the technical role of assigning broadcast frequencies based on these permits and availability of spare broadcasting channels REFERENCES Belles, A. Chadwick, R. F. (1992). Ethical Issues in Journalism and the Media. Rutledge, Clientèles. Com. The Structure of the Mass Media and Government Regulation. 7 Jan 2013 . Herman, E. (1999). The Myth of the Liberal Media, New York: Peter Lang Publishing. McLain, D. (2005) Mass Communication Theory, Sage Publications Ltd. Report of the Task Force on Migration of Terrestrial Television from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting in Kenya (2007)