ExpoTimes News Magazine 1 year ago

‘Dr. Shaw’s Contribution to Knowledge and Research is Unmatchable’ Dr Francis Sowa.

Senior   lecturer of the Mass Communications Department at FBC and Chairman of the Media Reform Coordinating Group MRCG Dr. Francis Sowa has described the contributions

Diaspora News
Media and politics

By; Alusine Fullah



Are the mass media too influential in politics today? Do journalists merely report and analyse the daily happenings of political parties fairly and objectively? Are they too often setting the agenda for the politicians themselves? What role should the mass media play in the political process?

Since its inception, the mass media have revolutionized the way we communicate political information. Political campaigns, just before the introduction of radio, were characterized by stump oratory in which candidates addressed a few thousand citizens from a bandstand or makeshift podium erected in the town square. Years later, when radio had become very popular even among low-income households, political candidates and their campaign persons were able to reach far many people than ever before.

All over the world, politicians have realized the crucial role of the mass media, and Sierra Leone is no exception. Sierra Leoneans today have considered the news industry to be essential to the success of the political process. Who reports political agendas of the day? The mass media of course. In the recent June 24th 2023 general elections in Sierra Leone, top political parties like governing Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) used the mass media to circulate or disseminate their manifestos and canvass voters.

Democracy, after all, rests on making informed or enlightened decision. At least, in theory, better media coverage of political messages, delivered directly to citizens through mass media (and recently via internet or social media) has made the citizenry better enlightened or informed than ever before.

But the mass media actively shape their influencers as much as they objectively broadcast the news. Increasingly, we rely on the news industry to provide us not only with the facts but also with an interpretation of the facts. Some commentators have argued that our hunger for instant interpretation is a result of widespread laziness. Others blame a time-crunch that results from too many personal and social responsibilities, or claim that partisan bickering causes more complex than soundbites.

Has the growing influence of the news industry strengthened or weekend the quality of public debate? Further, what should be the media’s role in the political ecosystem? The press as a watchdog theory: The modern press is the observer of every Politian and in that sense serves as a watchdog of democracy. When every speech is on the record and reported across the nation during the six o’ clock news, politicians can no longer make promises to one special interest group without risking the wrath of an opposed group.

Copy right –Printed in the Expo Times News on Monday, November 27th, 2023 (ExpoTimes News – Expo Media Group (expomediasl.com)