Sample English Paper on Media Distrust
A survey conducted in 2015 by Edelman Trust Barometer, showed that people’s trust in media had dropped to its nadir in the history of media. According to the survey, 60 percent of the population from participant countries showed distrust in the media. A similar survey conducted by Gallup showed identical results. In contrast to the survey conducted by Edelman Trust Barometer that had a sample of twenty-seven countries, the Gallup survey had a sample of 128 countries (Harding 7). This is an indication that a majority of people in the world have a distrust in the media. They accuse media of bias while reporting important issues. Although media distrust is at its highest, the feeling of suspicion concerning other institutions cannot be ignored.
Largely, the widespread doubt on the media is justified. This is because often, some media houses provide one-sided information. This trend is prevalent among state-owned media houses, a majority of which tend to propagate the ideologies of the government. Besides, the problem is insidious in media houses that take sides while reporting the news. Although it is right to take sides especially when reporting terror-related news or news that can create differences and unwanted agitations among people and communities, it is inappropriate to promote bias in journalism. Such practices diminish public trust in the media. Hence it is essential for journalists and media houses to desist from taking sides while reporting news and other important issues. This is a responsibility of the media houses and journalists, hence it can only be encouraged rather than imposed upon them.
Once again, the distrust in media is also justified because of the political stand that some media houses take. State-owned media houses are good examples media companies influenced by political parties. Usually, these media houses fail to present an original information, especially when the news falls against a political party’s or governments’ ideologies that they are affiliated to (Harding 8). Due to their policies of favoritism, some people do not trust these media houses. A similar scenario is applicable to private media houses that do not appear impartial while reporting the news. The widespread cynicism about media is justified owing to media bias witnessed in reporting news and the political stands that a majority of media houses take on certain issues.
In order to fix media bias while maintaining freedom of the press and to encourage free speech, it would be important to do the following. Firstly, it is essential to encourage journalists together with media house owners to report news with accuracy (Harding 14). It implies that news should be reported without changes or manipulation. Most of the time, inaccuracies in reporting leads to bias. Therefore discouraging such practices would be the first step towards the elimination of media distrust.
Secondly, journalists, as well as media house owners, should be mandated to report the news without favoritism. In order to abstain from this practice, media houses should distance themselves from taking political stands (Sloan and Mackay 151). In particular, they should not appear to present one side of the story at the expense of unbiased reporting.
Thirdly, governments should be barred from influencing media content. Although this is a tough task especially in authoritarian regimes, the practice enhances democracy (Harding 17). As Martin Luther King once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope” (Chang 282). Although governments may disappoint us through their state machinery we must not lose hope that they will concede with time, like they have done in mature democracies. Hence we should persist in our appeal till governments restrain their influences on the media. At the same time, journalists working for state-owned media need to be commanded to act ethically and refrain from spreading false information.
Finally, media houses should be accountable for their acts and omissions. This does not entail gagging the media; it means ensuring that the media conducts its duties within the law and in accordance with the ethical principles of journalism. Journalism should be practiced in accordance with the law and in line with journalism ethics. Although media houses should be responsible for their propagandas and omissions, it is important to regard freedom of speech and press. We should understand that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (Mieder 141). Consequently, it would be injudicious to violate the freedom of speech of the media and the journalists.
Chang, Larry. Wisdom for the soul: Five millennia of prescriptions for spiritual healing. Washington, DC: Gnosophia publishers, 2006. Print.
Harding, Phil. Public service media in divided societies: Relic or renaissance? Policy briefing, 2015. Print.
Mieder, Wolfgang. Making a way out of no way: Martin Luther King’s sermonic proverbial rhetoric. New York: Peter Lang, 2010. Print.
Sloan, David, and Mackay Jenn. Media bias: Finding it, fixing it. Jefferson: McFarland & Co, 2007. Print.