Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ARTICLE | Media Values and Society


Media Values and Society[1]

This article was written when I was 17 years old, very young and too idealistic. You'll sense it from this article how naïve I was back then.

The article "Media Values and Society[2]" written by Florangel Braid and Roberto Victoriano presents some reasons why and how media should be a tool in purveying Filipino values as a means to our national survival.
Certainly the media has the capacity to build consensus and respect for nuances if it will only follow what is written in our constitution stating that media should practice its rights for the common good, preservation of our patrimony, rule of law, truth, justice, freedom, love, equality and peace; including of course the educational goals- creative and critical thinking, ethical and spiritual values, moral character, personal discipline, patriotism, materialism, love of humanity, respect for human rights and duties of citizenship, family solidarity.

With all these values the media is expected to purvey, how we do we stray from the vision of a just and humane society? Does media really play its part accordingly?

I dare say- I do not think so.

In fact I'd rather believe that the constitutional mandate is nothing but an idealistic concept. How would you expect media to build consensus and promote values when all it wants from the beginning is to procure income for its investors. No one, not even the president can deny the fact that media instead of uniting the Filipinos, has been a tool in creating a barrier between, for instance the church and the government, nations against nations, military versus the rebels, rich against poor.

With all the events that scarred our history, it's undeniably clear that media has magnified a society full of prejudices and inequality towards the innocent lives in all those caught in the crossfire.

When Money Talks

Did it ever make sense why media only listen to those who are wealthy and are able to pay the right price? Why, because media is highly bias to the powerful. Its one sidedness has made me believe that it can never unite what has been divided for the last hundred years.

I want to stress that media with all its crowning glory is not evil per se. Of course media above all else is operated by people and as we know, people can be society's aggressor or defender. To be fair, media has played an important role when it comes to political issues. Even the president use media to inform the world of his achievements.

What I can't stand about media is that it tries to justify its exploitation of our society. Of course not just the obscene materials that it shows but also the current situation of the poor. Media as always, if not most of the time, would show these unfortunate ones in filthy, impoverished and uneducated images; instead of extending help, the affluent tend to look the other way.

Media and the Filipino Values

Media has been portrayed as a tool for the preservation of our values. The use of media is always sought to elicit educational TV shows and investigative reports. Nevertheless, if one was to measure the effectiveness of media whether it really promotes values or not; the results would probably be that of an unsustainable function.

I still dream of seeing the world where values such as frugality, discipline and entrepreneurship would be prioritized by the media. However, entrepreneurship (aka business) has taken over the list of values in the race for money and high ratings. How media and values can co-exist is still a mystery (yes it's not rocket science but tremendously challenging in this age).  In the end, it is society which becomes the prime victim.

Media and Society

To be fair, I would like to quote Rosario-Braid on how media can promote a people-oriented agenda:

First, they can give a wider choice in ideas and information instead of saying that "this is what the people want."

Second, media can offer alternative scenarios (that reinforces positive change or motivation).

Third, media can enable all sectors of society to be heard. We are not talking here of just one or two viewpoints but an orchestra of voices- women, youth, the senior citizens, government employees, the handicapped, and the other special interest groups - from which a true consensus can emerge.

Fourth, by enabling a wider sharing of information, media can promote the sharing of power between the government and the governed.

Fifth, media can return to its place of origin and this is in the community…. This participatory process enhances even more the process of empowerment of the small, marginalized sectors of society.

Sixth, instead of formenting conflict and controversy, media should help resolve conflicts, build consensus and promote non-violence as an alternative.

[1] This article was written back in July 2003 for my Communication Society class, under Professor Arsenio

[2] Media and Society authored by Florangel Rosario-Braid was a paper presented at the Symposium, Media and Society sponsored by the Asia Foundation Fellows, July 11, 1989.

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