Re: Democracy! Is it working to the benefit of Governing Papua New Guineans???
Anonymous Posted Jun 12, 2006 4:15 PM
The media has always plays an important role in functionning democracies, asking questions that the general public might be afraid to ask.
A healthy and active media also is willing to face up to the possibility of lawsuits if it has only partial evidence but feels that it is reporting the truth.
There are also usually different steps of the media, each one serving a different role. The range goes from more conservative newspapers that are widely read but conservative in what they will publish to underground newspapers that tend to go out on a limb and publish things which they think are the truth but which the conservative media will not handle.
Eventually if the underground newspapers persist, the more conservative newspapers will pick up the stories.
That seems to be what happened in America. The conservative newspapers would not run the Monica Lewinsky story. One newsmagazine called Newsweek knew all about the scandal but again would not publish it. Only when an internet site put the story up did the mainstream media begin to fall in line. The rest is history.
This story of Monica Lewinsky also illustrates the role of the internet in breaking open stories which mainstream media will not publish at first.
In PNG, our media is dysfunctional. Since all our media is foreign owned except for wantok (which is church owned), they will not publish anything that will seriously hurt their profits. They are even less likely to publish critical stories or reports about companies that might advertise in their newspapers because they're scared of losing the advertising business.
Our media is also dysfunctional in that there are not columnists who seriously challenge the status quo and break out stories or rumours on their own. The Drum is a joke, it doesn't give enough information about truly serious stories to figure them out. Names are always hidden. You will not find this to be case in countries where there is a workable, active, diverse media in place.