Following paper analyzes the media environments and media/communication policy of Iraq and the UK. In relation to it, the paper evaluates the media environment in the context of the concepts dealt from the reliable sources. Media policy is directed at various issues and contexts of the media environment. When developing the media policy, a broad range of theoretical perspectives is considered. This paper aims to analyze media policy from different theoretical perspectives. In this paper, the media policies of the United Kingdom and Iraq will also be analyzed. The important concepts, covered in this essay, include media imperialism, the CNN effects, and the key issues associated with media policy.
An important factor, which must be considered when developing media policy, is the presence of several policy areas in the field of communication. These areas include telecommunication policy, information policy, cultural policy, communication policy, and others. The presence of multiple areas makes it essential to develop diverse regulations related to each area. For instance, regulations related to telecommunication, regulations related to information access and information infrastructures, and others (Rozwell, 2011).
The term ‘media is very important in the policy making process. This term has been interpreted in narrow ways. The critics of media associate the term with traditional mass media. However, the advanced technology such as the Internet and other devices also fall into the category of media (Herbert, 1995). A comprehensive media policy is one, which developed regulations and laws for all forms of media including print media, television, radio, and social media.
Media policy is based on various theoretical constructs. All those constructs are subjected to different explanations. The theoretical constructs provide the framework for the development of criteria, which helps in assessing and evaluating the media. The criterion is likely to vary across the world; however, the principles presented in this paper are considered the basic blocks of media policy (Herbert, 1995).
Following are the fundamental building blocks of media policy:
One of the core components of media policy is free speech. Free speech can be defined as the right to communicate. The principle of free speech aims to guarantee the free flow of ideas and perceptions. The role of free speech is associated with the democratic process of a country (Shanahan et al, 2008). A democratic state is required to guarantee the free speech of media channels.
The Public Interest
The second core principle of media policy is the public interest. The public interest has a long history in the process of media policymaking. Public interest is the benchmark, which is used for assessing media policies. According to this principle, the media policy must not reflect the interests of individual parties or groups but the overall interest of the public (Shanahan et al, 2008).
The Marketplace of Ideas
The third vital principle of media policy is the promotion of marketplace of ideas. From this perspective, the media policy must prioritize different media systems, which fulfill the needs of the public and contribute towards the success of the democratic process (Shanahan et al, 2008). The media must serve as the marketplace of ideas. Mass media must provide a platform to the public where ideas can be exchanged.
Key Issues in Media Policy
The key issues involved in media policy include:
The nature of the content offered by different media outlets is a major concern of media policymaking. Structure can be defined as the structural elements of media. The examples of such structural elements include the patterns of ownership, characteristics of content providers, and the competitive conditions. Infrastructure involves different distribution systems and networks which are used to disseminate the system (Castells, 2007).
Mass Communication and Media Politics
There is a significant relationship between politics and socialized communication. Politics needs communication in order to influence the minds of people. Moreover, the political system requires mass media systems for communicating with the public. The media is based on a fragmented systems consisting of print press, radio, and the TV. The print press is used for producing original information (Castells, 2007). The TV is used to communicate information to the mass audience while radio provides means for customized interactions. The politics of the modern world is media politics. The political systems rely on the media in order to gain support of citizens. It is because of this reason that politics has a major influence on the media (Castells, 2007).
The CNN Effect
Many academics have published research on the CNN effect. The CNN effect theory aims to analyze the role of media in the international environment and political context. The CNN effect can be defined as the idea that the global television networks play a significant role in determining the policies. The CNN effect also argues about the influence of media on the government policy (Kogen and Price, 2011).
The CNN effect theory argues that the global media has contributed towards the development of new species of information. The outcomes of the CNN effect can be shown in the following manner:
The above table demonstrates the process of the CNN effect. The atrocity on the television led towards criticism of journalists on the government. The purpose of criticism is to pressurize the government to take any action. The pressure, therefore, leads towards the decision making process.
According to some arguments, the CNN effect accelerates the process of policymaking. This effect, ultimately, leads towards hasty decisions. The CNN effect is also seen as an obstruction to achieve desired goals. This consequence of the CNN effect is rooted in the emotional coverage and its impact on public opinions (Castells, 2007).
Analysis of the Media Policy of the United Kingdom
The media of the United Kingdom is well known for its neutrality. The media policy of the United Kingdom has shown consistency in terms of its commitment towards media plurality. However, uncertainties exist regarding how to achieve this goal without making any compromise on the freedom and independence of media. In order to look for justifiable definition of plurality in media, the United Kingdom had adopted different quantitative measures (Remtulla, 2010).
The research on the nature of media pluralism is rich; however, the narrow objectives developed by the United Kingdom have not been successful. It is largely because the process of media policy development, in the United Kingdom, is largely influenced by powerful media interests. The Communications Act 2003 of the United Kingdom is currently regulating the media landscape of the country. The government of the United Kingdom emphasized on the importance of plurality in media. The government also encourages investment in the media industry. In order to compete with international players, several rules were removed, which were related to broadcasting license (Ferguson, 1998).
The media business has become globalized in the recent years. Therefore, the process of media policy making has become more complicated than it was before. The number of stakeholders has also increased in the recent years. Previously, the interventions in the media policy were limited to the role of legislators and certain industry players only. However, with the passage of time, the UK media is also facing interventions from other divisions such as the EU. The media policy of the United Kingdom is not confined to any single location. In fact, multiple divisions are involved in the process; for example, Trade and Industry (DTI), the Departments for Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), and others. Since the new government of the country took power in the year 1997, the policy initiatives have resulted in debate about the dominance (Fejes, 1981).
The participation of different interest groups in the process of policymaking is a significant challenge for policymakers. The media policymaking, in the United Kingdom, is a highly complicated process. The policy of the UK media on different issues, such as press privacy, is rarely developed. The decision-making process has also become very complicated. The number of divisions involves in the process of policymaking have increased. Currently, the issue of protecting media freedom and plurality is high on the United Kingdom’s political agenda (Kogen and Price, 2011). The media is seen as an essential part of the working democracy in the United Kingdom. It is argued that the changes in the technological environment; for instance, the increase in the number of information sites and the decline of print media, have made media pluralism unnecessary. In the past decade, the controls in media ownership were relaxed in the United Kingdom. The power of media, in the United Kingdom, has become more elastic than it was before. The delivery of news on the Internet has been modified. However, the Internet has not undermined the importance of mainstream media. The social media has generated power by providing a customized news experience (Kogen and Price, 2011).
The media of the United Kingdom is different from the media of Iraq in such a manner that in the United Kingdom, journalists exercise the freedom of speech. However, the UK media is also exposed to certain regulations. The media policy of the United Kingdom imposes restrictions on the freedom of speech. The legislations, placed on the UK media, include anti-terrorism legislation, official secrets, law of confidence, and others (Kogen and Price, 2011).
During the last decade, the role of modern communication in the third world countries has become very important. During the 1960s, researchers argued that the modern media could help in the social development of different third world countries including Latin America and different Asian countries. Recently, the emergence of a new approach has been observed. This modern approach is associated wit the study of modern communication. The new approach is also referred to as the media imperialism. Media imperialism has been developed in order to resolve the concerns of the earlier models of communication. The emphasis of the media imperialism approach is on global structure. The major focus of the media imperialism approach is on cooperation and communication between the third world and developed countries (Wilkinson, 1997).
Analysis of the Media Policy of Iraq
The independence of media is essential for the successful development of democracy in a country. Without an independent and vibrant media, it is not possible to safeguards the interests of the public. The International laws and the Constitution of Iraq respect the freedom of media. The media of Iraq must grant freedom to all parties through all means. The freedom of press is also a critical component of the media policy of Iraq. The Article 42 of the Constitution guarantees that the citizens of Iraq possess the freedom of opinion. During the reign of Saddam Hussein, the foreign conspiracy tool was used. The content shown on the television was filtered by the higher authorities. The Internet was introduced to Iraq in the early 2000. The citizens of Iraq were provided with a limited access of the Internet (Gilboa, 2005).
The Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq regulated media standards. During the reign of Sadda, the freedom of speech was not granted to journalists. However, after the end of Saddam’s era, Iraqi media has advanced in terms of the freedom of speech. In the modern Iraq, the journalists have the freedom to criticize the government actions and policies. The CPA aims to develop environment where the principle of the freedom of speech is practiced in more advanced manners (Price, 2002).
The media policy of Iraq was previously based on the doctrines of the Ba’ath Party. Those doctrines used to disgrace and disregard foreign news agencies. The freedom of expressions holds significant importance in the International Law. The right states that every citizen has the right to express his or her opinions freely. The international laws have bound Iraq to provide the freedom of opinion. When the mass media arrived in Iraq, the freedom of expressions and opinions was not granted. It was assumed in the media policy that the media needs to be controlled by the state. The Iraqi media changed significantly after the removal of Saddam’s government. Currently, satellite channels are the dominant medium in Iraq. The citizen of Iraq can access as many as thirty to forty television channels (Price, 2002).
The current state of media in Iraq reflects pluralism. The media has provided significant freedom of expression to the citizens. However, the country still needs to work on the development of an independent media. The main elements of Iraqi media include local press, small media, and television stations. Previously, the newspapers distributed to the public were owned by Baathist. Now, there are as many as 150 newspapers, which are provided to the citizens. Nevertheless, those newspapers are owned by political parties. This suggests the needs for an institutional infrastructure, which works for the development of independent media in Iraq.
The arguments, presented in this paper, have analyzed the media of Iraq and the United Kingdom. The essential component of media policy is the freedom of expression and freedom of speech. The media actors, in the United Kingdom, are provided with much liberty than those of Iraq. The media development, in Iraq, is at its infant stage. The Iraqi media has gone through several transformations during the last decade. However, the media of the United Kingdom is much developed than that of Iraq. The freedom granted to citizens and journalists is higher in the United Kingdom than in Iraq.
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