As we all should know by now, the media is our primary source of information, be it through the press through fresh prints every morning and evening or through online resources on news sites and social media. In my own opinion, it really matters who controls the media because many people underestimate the influence the media can have on decision-making, which affects consumerism and policy-making. If left in the controls of selfish politicians or radical rage-consumed citizens who had their rights jeopardized, media would be abused in the sense where incorrect information would be disseminated to the citizens to brainwash them into having ideas that may not necessarily benefit them. Hence, I would feel that it would be for the best if the media is controlled partially by the government, but with leeway given to citizen journalism so that people are able to develop their own views and learn how to discern between right and wrong.
It matters if corrupted governments control the media as it compromises on the welfare of their people while they try to convince the people that the policies they make will bring benefits to them when in actual fact, it would only benefit the government themselves. They can also use it to hide discrepancies in their running of the country to avoid criticism from neighboring countries as to maintain business relations. One popular example would be of course, North Korea.
“Do not forget the U.S. imperialist wolves!”
Above is a poster released by the North Koreans a while after “conflicting reports were released from North Korea, a few months after Kim Jong Un took over leadership from the now-deceased Kim Jong Il. As we can infer from this photo, in order to suppress the people’s anger towards the government for leaving them to starve, they try to use propaganda to distract the people from the real problems they are facing now and focus their anger on the United States whom the North Korean government have bad blood with ever since the Second World War.
Meanwhile for citizen journalism, it might not necessarily be a good idea to have the media totally controlled by the people as there is no regulation to what kind of news are being posted. In the case where the government is reliable, it has the correct information and statistics at hand to share with the public at the fastest possible time. Citizen journalists may not be able to deliver information as efficiently in comparison. Another point would be that citizen journalists may choose to post satire, which some people may find hard to catch and thus be misled to thinking that it is actual news. One example would be a satirical post by newnation.sg where it stated that our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had ‘unfriended’ Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Facebook and untagged him from photos after Indonesia had decided to rename naval vessels after terrorists who bombed the Macdonald House in 1965.(http://newnation.sg/2014/02/pm-lee-unfriends-susilo-bambang-yudhoyono-on-facebook-untags-him-from-photos/) The Indonesian media picked it up as real news and published it, and had to remove the article after realizing their mistake (http://newnation.sg/2014/02/indonesia-media-buys-new-nation-news-about-pm-lee-and-sby/)
I would end this post reiterating my stand that the media should be controlled by both the government and the people simultaneously for more accurate broadcasting of information. People usually subconsciously believe in whatever they are exposed to over a long period of time, hence if more views are presented it would widen their view to become more open-minded and cynical than to blindly believe everything they read.