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Speech

Freedom of Speech in Modern Media Essay (Critical Writing)

September 1, 2022 by Essay Writer

Summary

The groundbreaking changes in the use of technologies, in general, and IT innovations, in particular, have redesigned the very fabric of the communication process. However, with new opportunities that modern media has provided, new risks gave also emerged. The transfer of the traditional principles of the freedom of speech and unbiased communication into the virtual reality realm has proven to be quite intricate. Which is even more troubling, many people use the convoluted logic of the social network environment to provoke others by uploading controversial material that is likely to spark confrontations or even incite hatred and violence.

At this point, the issue of responsibility and the necessity to edit the material uploaded online needs to be brought up. Although subjecting all items to consistent censorship and whitewashing every statement made by users is barely possible, it is still crucial to create the environment, in which the representatives of every culture can coexist. Similarly, to engage in a successful conversation online, one must have an intrinsic understanding of what can be viewed as a harsh material.

The Freedom of Information Act based on the First Amendment is currently viewed as the principal regulation controlling the data exchange in the online environment (First Amendment, 2016). The Act permits expressing virtually any ideas on the premises of freedom of speech. At the same time, the bigoted approach to the principles of freedom of speech in the context of the real world, such as killing or silencing journalists, makes the process of promoting the same values in the internet environment barely possible.

The lack of freedom of speech remains a problem for the east, Eastern Europe, and some African countries, such as Kenya. The political involvement of modern media has also become a significant problem, with a range of media applauding to the ideas that are not necessarily supported by the editors but have been sponsored by the media patrons. Therefore, in the contemporary environment, oligarchy, as well as power abuse, remains a topical factor restricting the freedom of speech.

The differences in information management, as well as the way, in which it is represented in online media, could be attributed to the specifics of the corresponding cultures. However, a brief overview of the cultural specifics of the states that have the highest rates of media controversy and the related issues will show that the principles of social justice are quite similar worldwide. Therefore, there is a strong need to reconsider the way, in which the struggle for media freedom has been unwrapping in the identified environments (Robertson, 2015).

Analysis

The issue of media freedom is, indeed, among the most convoluted topics to address. It borders the areas of the freedom of speech and the threats of inciting to cross-cultural conflict, thus, inviting a profound discussion. At this point, political commitment as a problem of the modern media needs to be brought up (Hung, 2012).

As Robertson stresses quite righteously, modern media is prone to support a particular side of the conflict, just as much as the traditional one. This begs the question, however, whether media can provide an unbiased and objective point of view when it comes to addressing a political issue. For instance, Robertson points to the fact that media can be used both to unify and to divide the nation:

Freedom of expression thus has a dark side, as argued by Hutton but also, in a different way, as illustrated by the portkey that opened the chapter. In many countries throughout the world, this freedom involves the liberty to polarize and to demonize opponents. Radio, a medium that for decades had the power to unify the nation, and in many places still has, has been used as a deadly instrument, spreading hate of rival ethnic groups in Rwanda in 1994, for example, and of homosexuals in Uganda. (Robertson, 2015, p. 154)

Therefore, when conveying a particular idea, the media has to pick a side that it will be arguing; otherwise, the entire idea thereof will become pointless. Media is supposed to represent the arguments of different people and organizations so that everyone involved could be open to a discussion and that a constructive analysis of the items on the agenda could begin.

When viewed through the prism of the pluralism of opinions, the idea of shedding light on some of the less popular or even downright harmful ideas seems a lesser evil. As long as the people that view the information have a strong moral and ethical stance, the potential harm that controversial messages can bring is reduced to a zero. Still, the authors of the information posted via online media tools need to be very cautious when considering the implications that their posts will have on the population that they are targeted at (Fernandez-Delgado & Balanza, 2012).

As far as the issue of supporting certain political groups and parties is concerned, one must give the readers credit for being able to identify the intentions of the authors and make the corresponding conclusions on their own. While the fact that every media piece is based on specific political ideas can hardly be doubted, the tools that the authors use to manipulate their readers are, as a rule, rather easy to detect, and the authors of the biased representation are quite ridiculous in their naive endeavor at twisting the reality and misrepresenting a particular tier of society.

It could be argued, though, that the methods of manipulating the social opinions and the stance that people take when addressing a particular issue are only going to get more intricate and, therefore, harder to recognize. As a result, modern media will manipulate people’s opinions in a much more efficient manner. Nevertheless, one must admit that the contemporary environment of the modern media lacks cultural sensitivity since all parties involved, including the ones that promote the absence of tolerance, socially and politically dangerous ideas, etc., have the chance to expose their materials to everyone. Although offering a chance in expressing one’s opinion is important, it is still crucial to make sure that the information provided neither flame the existing intercultural conflicts nor sparks new ones.

Robertson (2015) does a very good job of locating the nature of the contemporary issues that modern media has. Because of the lack of control over the environment of social networks and the related issues, there is a consistent threat of a malicious idea being blown out of its proportions and affecting a vulnerable population. As a result, the success of communication between the representatives of different cultures may be jeopardized. However, as soon as the principles of responsibility and ethics guide the choices made by the participants of social networks and the authors of the media content, the threats can be avoided successfully.

Reference List

Fernandez-Delgado, F. C., & Balanza, M. T. V. (2012). Beyond WikiLeaks: The Icelandic modern media initiative and the creation of free speech havens. International Journal of Communication, 1(6), 2706-2729.

First Amendment. (2016).

Hung, C. L. (2012). Media control and democratic transition: Ongoing threat to press freedom in Taiwan. China Media Research, 9(2), 83-93.

Robertson, A. (2015). Media and politics in a globalizing world. Malden, MA: Polity Press.

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