- Slides: 25
Media and policy Presentation at Highway Africa 13 Sept 2005 Guy Berger
“ National media have helped bring about, and to maintain, a level of democracy in their respective states. Yet little sign of media deepening a democratic role to be a vital link in public policy processes w. r. t. the African Information Society. Yet, I. S. policies impact back on media, but the two hands (media & policy) aren’t feeding into each other.
“ FINDING: The media is silent in terms of: • relevant policy agenda-setting • policy debate and formulation, • implementation, • monitoring, and • review.
Countries covered: • • • Kenya Mozambique DRC Nigeria Ethiopia Senegal by Highway Africa, sponsored by Catia
Aims • Quantity of coverage • Quality of coverage: – Accurate? – Proactive & independent? • Which actors reflected? • Technicist? Economistic? • Utility: base-line data for interventions
Methodology • Country-based researchers • Mainstream media • Content analysis + interviews • Event-focused • Theoretically-informed
THE THEORY: • the public opinion • the media • policy people
Specific players: • media: different platforms, premier outlets, § public: general public, civil society groups incl NGOs, business, global forces, individuals. § policy people: the makers and the implementers. § Qtn: who drives the process?
Five models of how the relationship works: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Liberal democratic Muck-raker model Bypassing civil society Manipulation model Propaganda picture
1. Liberal democratic model MEDIA 2 COVERAGE 1 PUBLIC + OPINION GOVT RESPONDS 3 i. e. The public is the active source of public opinion eg. Aids activists win coverage, affect govt
2. Muckraker model PUBLIC + OPINION 1 2 MEDIA COVERAGE GOVT RESPONDS 3 i. e. Media coverage is active source of public opinion eg. Exposure of child abuse
3. Bypassing Civil Society 2 GOVT RESPONDS 1 MEDIA COVERAGE = “PUBLIC OPINION” i. e. Media impacts on govt, irrespective of real public opinion eg. Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky
4. Manipulation model 2 MEDIA COVERAGE 1 GOVT INITIATES PUBLIC + OPINION 3 i. e. Government is the originator of public opinion eg. Iraq war in US, Info scandal, discredit leader’s rivals
5. Propaganda picture MEDIA COVERAGE 1 2 GOVT INITIATES i. e. Government is the originator, circuit incomplete eg. media coverage pleases govt, but ignored by public
Five models of how the relationship works: 1. Liberal dem – people-driven 2. Muckraker model – media-driven 3. Bypassing civil society – media< ->govt 4. Manipulation model – govt-driven 5. Propaganda picture – govt-driven
Models for Info Society policy: 1. Lib dem – people-driven: • public access policies 2. Muck-raker– media-driven: • airwaves get freed 3. Bypass – media<->govt: • licensing regime 4. Manipulation – govt-driven: • privatising telco 5. Propaganda – govt-driven: • sunshine imagery
Summing up (a): • Policy People may infer Public Opinion from media, • and they may use media to promote their policies. • Often it is interaction of media & politicians (not the public) that affects govt policy & practice.
Summing up (b): • Civil society has little impact via media or public opinion, on policy • In the countries studied, there is little evidence of any model at work. • Contrary to the models, media is NOT (yet) a factor
Research agenda • South Africa Convergence Bill – elicits input • SABC policies – But not SABC re-licensing process • SABC “Woman’s Day” issue Media will become a factor elsewhere.
Future research to look at: • Then we need to assess: – one-sided & simplistic reportage = rapid policy change? • Complexity & debate = slower policy action? • Life cycle of policy: mobilisation -> action -> maintenance -> fade (as the media intensity declines).
Other research issues 2: • TV greater impact on dramatic & short-term events. But often TV takes its cue from print. • Intermedia agenda-setting power. For example, some titles set “the story” for others. • Note: power of international media and cultural imperialism.
Actual media effects: Any impact on policy makers & implementers? § Via media & bypassing media, and upon media (affecting its interests & operations). Influence decoding by audiences: § the setting of media agendas and framing – are people passive?
Summing up Media, public, policy people = a dynamic & powerful triangle! that is sometimes not a triangle! and that works at diff levels, issues, times!
Understanding Journalists need to grasp the complexities about actors, public opinion, policy. In this way, strategise & heighten our impact Africa needs optimum relationships, esp on Information Society policy issues.
Last words Think about it. Act upon it. Be a conscious player in public opinion