Tuesday, November 11, 2008

MEDIA IN PEACE BUILDING

The development of every democratic society depends on the effectiveness of all of its sectors- the government, the civil society, political institutions, media or the press and the citizens. All of these sectors work in diverse fields with different ethics, but with one ultimate goal. And that goal is ‘the peaceful advancement of the society’. They are not mutually exclusive. The work of one group depends on the outcomes of a first group. The media for example, does not work in the absence of a government and a people. The media works with the causes and consequences of the works of all sectors of society. That is, the media links the rest of the people or institutions in a society to each other by taking information around from one group to another.

As the world advances with complexity of societies and ideologies, democracy and human rights are the most desired concepts every society strives for, but in this conceptualization, peace and democracy are threatened by conflicts of interest and rebellions in nations. Amidst these estranged conditions, rights are abused and people kept separated from each other involuntarily without information and messages. Fortunately for the world today, the freedom of the press is being promoted as more media facilities like the information technology is developing. People in conflicts are getting access to information through radio, and internet based magazines. Messages are being transmitted through the emails and mobile phones.

The existence of independent media organizations makes it possible for the public to stay abreast of societal events and problems. It allows the public to form positive or negative opinions of the direction of public policy. The formation of positive opinions toward public policy promotes development and maintains peace in society, while the formation of negative opinions toward public policy turns the people against the government or the government against the people, and sometimes the people against each other. The media must therefore be independent and objective in information dissemination. The state must also avoid control of the media and ensure that the freedom of the press is promoted at all levels. This is eminent in democracy and peace building because when a free press exists in a society, the fundamental right of freedom of speech can be freely exercised.

In this twenty first century when societies and individuals are facing many challenges ranging from conflicts to undemocratic rules, peace has become a demand like water. The media must see itself as essential to the maintenance of good governance and the prevention of deadly conflicts in society. To achieve this, the media must be neutral and take oversight on the activities of government and every sector of the society. Media outlets should balance the national interest, keep loyalty to the people, shape public opinion, and serve as a point for constructive debates. The media should also be involved in entertainment for the healing of wounds of conflict and traumas, and education for the civil consciousness of the people.

The advancement of the information technology system and improvements made on other media outlets like the internet, newspaper, magazines, television and radio, have greater roles to play in peace building and maintenance. In most third world countries, many people can not afford the cost of television, internet, and magazines. Media institutions need to increase production of news outlets that the people can afford according to their economic standards. Radio news and programs should also be read in local vernaculars for the benefit of those who do not understand official languages. Televisions must lay emphasis on visual display of events, and must avoid ethical misconduct, like the showing of pornography and restricted films.

A world of peace means a world where people are united and mutually working for the advancement of each other and their society. The media must strive to unite the people of the society. Television and radio stations must initiate programs for connecting people in different areas. Civic education programs through drama or any forms must be aired and televised for the education of the society. Newspapers and magazine columns should be used for people to give opinions on national issues through articles, letters and poems. The internet is one of the simplest ways of uniting people throughout the world. Media institutions like local newspapers and radio stations must build websites for citizens outside their countries to have access to local news and contribute to the shaping of public policy. Media experts in the area of information technology should avoid privacy invasion and the erroneous transmittance of messages.

1 comment:

YEI said...

This article is short, precise, and thought-provoking for the media. Thanks Mr. Nyei

By: Ms. Tracy Andrews