Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The press in 2016

Journalism has been a blessing and a curse, depending how freedom of speech is valued and the government can deal with criticism.
In the past and even today many countries make the press speak the "language" of the government.

In a way a free press is the expression of a democratic government.
The public is allowed to read, see and hear all sorts of opinions and views, so people can create a well informed opinion themselves.

In countries where people are not allowed to form their own opinion the press is used to manipulate people by allowing only information that is considered to be in line with the views of the government.

Right now Poland is subject of intense debate.
Even the European Union has mixed itself into the discussion by pointing out that the way the new Polish government deals with the media is not allowed in a democratic Europe.

This new government has a different view on life than the former one and it has a new goal: to restore the values that have been lost.
That will be done by influencing the stream of information.
The minister of finances can sack the journalists that don't fit in the new policy.
The broadcasting organisations are supposed to become: "national cultural institutions."
The new policy entails also limiting the availability of international papers.

I wonder how long it will take before they act like countries like China, which block the participation in social media and block the accessibility of blogs.

Interfering with the media has been a subject of discussion in The Netherlands too, even though the discussion has been rather silent.
The TV senders have been organised in a way the minister wants. It was quite easy, because enormous financial cutbacks forced the media organisations to review their programming.
Different organisations were forced to cooperate, which caused a diminishing of variability. The Buddhist Broadcasting Organisation has no media time anymore, and is forced to cooperate with a few other religious organisations.
The minister spoke about: "cultural relevance for the people", "having cultural value" and at the same time allowed the most stupid quizzes without any cultural content.

We're moving into a time of new gadgets to be overpowered by information and at the same time governments are taking back or are withholding their financial support to diversity disappears.
This opens the door to manipulation and sanctioning criticism.

I don't like this.


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