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The presented paper aims to continue the discussion regarding the media and the manipulations performed in this sector. Nevertheless, the ideas of the Prison Writings would also be examined and the article with the proclaiming title Not to Study but to Learn will be discussed.
First of all, it should be stressed that the media has been significantly affected by the globalization processes and technological advances. In the view of these changes, it is important to stress that everyone nowadays represents a more or less influential source of media that communicates the news, opinions, ideas etc. The leaders of different ideologies were famous in the previous epochs; however, today the volume of their voice as well as the influence of the audience has definitely increased with the help of the social networks like Facebook and similar technologies. There is a new precedent when the traditional media resources including those published online refer to the comments available in the social networks. The revolutions can be initiated with a single message of the most influential people. Therefore, one has to note that even though the media still tend to manipulate with the help of news and messages they send to the audience, the citizens have much more pronounced tools to disseminate the truth and discard the arguments expressed in the press. The witnesses could be easily traced on the social media as well.
On the other hand, it should be stressed that not everyone is benefiting from the emergence of the social media. It is suggested that the latter is frequently used by the youth but not the older population and even the middle-aged people. Thus, the news is still retrieved from the traditional media resources that are indeed manipulated in a number of ways. The most urgent issue in this regard is the ownership of the media resources. In the countries of the Eastern Europe, the media are frequently viewed as the instruments of the political games and power, so that the politicians or at least the political parties aim to establish their horns for the broadcasting of the news and events in the light that would be favourable for their ideology and that would help to collect more votes during the elections. Therefore, while viewing the news on particular TV channels, the viewers have to put off the lenses of the channel and clearly understand what facts are silenced and which ones are emphasized due to the media ownership. The quality of such materials produced in current conditions is questionable, yet there are only few alternatives that can be used to present the news in a more objective way.
While discussing the role of the media and the manipulations they perform, one should also bear in mind that the individual journalists are also influenced by the values and environment they have to work in. The perspectives, through which the news is projected to the viewers, depend a lot on the personalities of the journalists, while the scope of the truth that is investigated and shown on the screens is actually dependent on the courage and professionalism of the journalists. Frequently, they also have to face the ethical challenges under the conditions when there are no direct guidelines as for how to act. In the Watergate scandal, the journalists preferred to tell the truth regardless of all the violations of the legal requirements and the editorial guidelines provided to them. It is evident that they have been driven by something different than the corporate interests and the profits generated. Their lives were endangered but, nevertheless, they stood for the truth in that particular case.
In the article Not to Learn but to Study, the author provides a short diary, an account of the events that occurred to a group of people. And it should be stressed that all the events are portrayed by this person, which means that they have been filtrated through his values, interests and preferences. While discussing this minor example, one can realize the influence of one person over the process of the news creation and generation as well as the importance of the availability of several independent media resources that cover the story from different perspectives depending on the preferences of the target audience. Therefore, the author of the Prison Writings actually urges the readers to widen the context of the readings presented to them. He asks them to analyze the events that preceded the story and happened after that, as well as to examine the connections, statements, thoughts and opinions.
Another important notion that might justify the manipulations performed by the media refers to the official authorities and the religion of the country where the journalists are employed. In the states of the Middle East where the Islam is adopted as an official religion and where the Qur’an is equalled to the Constitution, the freedom of press is significantly limited. The journalists might be deprived of their lives due to the materials they publish in their newspapers or show on TV. Moreover, the terrorists might even punish those who live outside the country of their origin for the materials that somehow distort or put their religious dogmas in the negative light. The attack on the Charlie Hebdo after the publication of their sarcastic caricatures is the most famous example of such a case. The dictatorship and authoritarian regimes also use censure that is applicable to the information transmitted on the TV screens and shared through the newspaper articles.
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Finally, the materials that are published in the newspapers and showed on the TV screens are significantly affected by the ratings and the amount of money that could be generated in case the ratings are high. The journalists should also keep in mind the preferences of their audience as well as the trends in the world they are living and working in. It is evident that the events in Paris will gather more attention than the bombing of the Paris. First, the French capital is visited by many people in contrast to unstable Iraq. Secondly, the events in Paris are not daily routine for the European continent, whereas the military actions in Iraq have been waged for years. Thirdly, one might also presume that the readers would be more interested in finding out more about the things that are closer to them. Thus, they would definitely be lured by the stories about Paris. And, of course, the money plays a role. All the reputable publishers are rooted in the Western word, so that they will naturally publish the news that would be important for that part of the world.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that the media resources have always served someone's interests more or less directly. The journalists nowadays have to face much pressure ranging from the necessity to have high ratings to the media ownership. Based on these facts, it should be stressed that the average citizens have to assume more power and influence in regard to the creation of the news to disseminate the truth with the help of modern technologies that will hopefully, facilitate this seeking.