The role of the media is vital in generating a democratic culture that extends beyond the political system and becomes engrained in the public consciousness over time.
Media is supplying the political information that voters base their decisions on.
a free press and an active political opposition constitute the best early-warning system a country threatened by famine could have.” The role of media as ‘detective’ is a critical adjunct to the role of the press as public watchdog; however, it is dealt with separately here to emphasise the difference between reporting on public affairs, and journalistic investigations into wrongdoing in the administration of public affairs.
When journalists are well trained and have trusted sources of information, the press is able to investigate wrongdoing by public officials.
These exposés often rely on more than one journalist and require the backup of the media publication or outlet (be it broadcasting or print) as a whole to provide the necessary resources for the investigative exercise.
In many countries, the ability and willingness of the press to engage in investigative journalism is key to encouraging the police and prosecuting authorities to act against corrupt public figures, even if this only occurs as a result of the intolerable pressure that the resulting publicity puts on the police and prosecuting authorities.There is no doubt that media has done a commendable job from time to time in making people aware about the harsh realities of life, in exposing corruption prevalent in our society, in increasing the awareness level among the people and a lot more but I feel that still a lot remains to be done.Media is becoming increasingly popular among people from all walks of life and it certainly has the potential of influencing the thoughts of its readers/viewers to a large extent.In words of Benito Mussolini – “Democracy is a kingless regime infested by many kings who are sometimes more exclusive, tyrannical and destructive than one, if he be a tyrant”.It is the fear of being exposed by the media before the public that most of the politicians keep themselves under control to some extent” On the other side, media also on its part should play a very responsible, active and neutral role in discharging its duties without being influenced by any particular political party or few individuals and should treat everyone on an equal footing.If media does not discharge its responsibility independently in any democratic country, the politicians are bound to behave like dictations or even worse than them.Media carries with it a huge responsibility in a democratic setup which it has to fulfil very carefully without any bias toward anyone by bringing out the real facts before the public.They need the requisite skills for the kind of indepth reporting that a new democracy requires.There should also be mechanisms to ensure they are held accountable to the public and that ethical and professional standards are upheld.Efforts to help the media should be directed toward: the protection of press rights, enhancing media accountability, building media capacity and democratising media access.Building independent media in developing countries requires more than freedom of speech, skilled journalists, or strong business management skills.