Social Responsibility of Media
One of the problems that the modern society faces is the erosion of moral values. Research reveals that in the developed nations today, one out of every two marriages ends in divorce; one out of every three pregnancies is aborted while one out of every three children is born out of wedlock. Additionally, religious institutions and leaders are increasingly becoming apathetic towards the declining moral standards.
The media has played a large role in the decline of morality. It has established a culture of materialism, individualism and celebrity-worship. Morals and values are acquired through the media whether consciously or unsuspectingly. Negative images of sex, violence and profanity are conveyed by the media on a daily basis (Wijeyadasa, 2000). The media presents the society with images of the perfect lifestyle, which the society, in turn tries to emulate. The media relies on capturing the interest of the public in order to earn revenues and it has capitalized on this by conveying messages and images that are captivating, but negative. The media has especially been harmful to teenagers and children whose minds are easily malleable and influenced. In order to fit in with their peers and be considered ‘cool’ they behave as they see in movies and music videos. The media creates the ideal lifestyle, and people follow it in order to fit into society.
The influence the media has on the public gives them an exceptional platform to transform society. People rely on media for news, information and entertainment. . The media is an influential tool in that it is able to shape public opinion, attitudes and behavior. The power of media is so immense that if channeled to the right causes it would have an extremely positive impact. Media has an authoritative influence on society today, and therefore, it can help in restoring the society’s ethics and morals. It can do this by airing programs, which educate, proposes integrity and condemns immorality. The most influential media is the television because it is widely accessible and combines both audio and visual aspect.
The media is persuasive, hence the reason many people model the lifestyles and behavior that are presented by media. Positive media therefore breeds a moral society while negative media breeds moral decadence. Positive media gives the public new direction, positive messages, wholesome entertainment and informative news. It adds value to people’s lives by improving their thinking. It can do this by idealizing virtues such as decency, integrity and honesty. Decadence has become so common in America that people have lost their conscience; they do not know what is right or what is wrong. One of the ways through which media can correct this moral is by highlighting immoral behavior in society, and providing examples of alternative behavior (Biagi, 2006). For instance, the media can create programs that underline the importance of responsible behavior among teenagers such as abstinence from drugs, alcohol and overcoming peer pressure.
The key to becoming a moral nation is in bringing up children in the right manner and upholding family values. One of the reasons why the society today is so corrupt is that family values have been neglected. Media should take up its role as an influential authority to communicate this message to the public. The media should be responsible enough to use its freedom and influence in a manner that will influence the present and future generations positively. By conveying positive messages the media will transform the country economically, socially and politically, thus leading to a better society. The benefits of such an action will benefit the society in the present and for generations to come. Media should therefore take up its role as a useful tool for moralizing society and restoring the sanity of society.
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Wijeyadasa, R. (2000). Media freedom and responsibility. New York, NY: Routledge.