The extent to which media reporting reflects a democratic society

The extent to which media reporting reflects a democratic society ( Grade 12 Life Orientation ).

You can analyse the following information to decide the extent or level to which the media the media reflect a democratic society:

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Identifying and discussing the various factors that influence media policy in South Africa

Topics covered in the media

How can topics covered influence the neutrality of the media:

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  • Newspaper editors, radio station manager and TV bosses choose the topics to cover and the time or space allocated to each story. These people do not necessary have neutral opinion.
  • Many of them are guided mainly by commercial interests. So the first question they would usually ask is: “Will this sell my newspaper or make people want to watch my TV station? If I get many readers or viewers, will be able to charge more for advertising? The people make decisions about which stories to report, will also decide whether it is relevant to their audience, If there is public interest in an issue, how newsworthy it is and what the entertainment value is.
  • e.g. Topics that are popular because people find the interesting of useful include news, information about celebrities’, sports, religion, health, art, culture, politics, entertainment job searching and school homework.

Position taken by editors

How can position taken influence the neutrality of the media?

  • Editors of newspapers and magazines have a lot of powers because, apart the allocation of topics, space and content. They may also express opinions in editorials.
  • An editorial is usually a short opinion piece that summaries the main news item and give an opinion about it.
  • It is mostly used for good, such as urge the government to give each school a library, or for people to stop participating in criminal activities or event
  • It reflects the be seen from the type of content allowed space allocated and slant or focus of the news sports.
  • Editors may hold positions on a specific news item

Space allocated

How can space allocated influence the neutrality of the media?

  • Space is not only how big an item is, but is also about which page it appears on in a newspaper or magazine, how much time is given to it in a TV or Radio broadcast, whether it appears at the beginning or end of the news report, or whether it appears on the home page of a website or if you can get it only by following link.
  • Space allocation must always be fair.

Geographical distribution

How the geographical distribution can affect the media in South Africa?

  • The accessibility of information for different groups in SA is not equal.
  • People in rural areas may not have access to newspapers, cell phone coverage readily available in some rural areas
  • People in rural area limited to listening only to local radio stations, or have access to computers, the Internet or TVs.
  • Poor people may not afford newspaper.
  • This means that the media do not reach everybody.
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Life Orientation Grade 12

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