img_2013Çağıl Günalp

cakilgunalp@gmail.com

‘The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight’. As it was indicated by John Berger, decades ago in the book named Ways of Seeing, there existed an irresistible gap between real world and another world which we perceive… Since media had been that much powerful in social life, scholars have been claiming that, mass media generates boundaries within real life and fictional life which is reflected to media… Do media concern about prospect of good life for all? Are media tools inevitably partial to any particular belief and ideology? Is it too naive to claim that media determines the boundaries of our perceptions? Can media reflect reality? Can media embrace every aspect of community? Can media be purified from its ethical dilemmas? Media theorists have been seeking answers for those questions to render audience much more responsible and critical. At this paper, my aim would be to build awareness of the common ground regarding the role of the mass media on social, cultural and political lives of societies. Firstly, it can be underlined that, media is a tool or source which is transmitting or exchanging information. ‘It can involve asserting, arguing, debating, deliberating, contacting, pressuring, appealing to, cajoling, and addressing’. Whole human history is shaped within the phenomenon named communication. As it was indicated by scholars, ‘from the first story told in prehistoric times through the mass media of today, verbal communication has shaped the foundation of an existence. Throughout time, many orators, philosophers, and educators have tried to capture the essence of human communication. Although a true understanding of the complexity of communication takes years of examination’. In the light of these realities, in this essay I would try to examine media in terms of perception, stances and manipulations emerging within the media. I am fairly sure that questioning and evaluating contemporary communication tools and their ethical problems, might create awareness and enlighten people to realize what causes today’s dilemma of media: what we see and what is real?

Initially, it can be stated that, mainstream media should emphasize the significance of identical diversity. They should embrace every single aspect of community. It is crystal clear to assert that, media channels have to concern social and psychological formation of diverse range of identities. In a more broader sense, mainstream media should be closely linked to representation of every single dynamics of social life. To grasp heterogeneity of cultures and ethnicities, to figure out cultures and ethnic diversities’ potentials, should be the basic responsibility of mainstream media…
As a new language for the 21st century, its words’ the meaning of which, can be differentiated among people. To put in a different way; media can be accepted as a new formation of language which is targeting not only our ears but also our eyes, our minds and our manners as well. Moreover, mass media can generate a vision of the community. It can be either used as an education-information medium or manipulation tool. In order to highlight this aspect, it might be of great help to state: If we consider mass media and consumption habits of today’s capitalism, it can be tremendously underlined that, nowadays mass media is being used as a guard of capitalist world. It is triggering and promoting capitalist tendencies… It promotes consumption and draws an illusion picture of the world in its audiences’ and potential customers’ eyes… Due to that reason, the gap between the imaginary world, which is drawn by media and social experiences of audience, is getting wider. Thereby, subjectivity, reliability of knowledge and legitimacy of media channel’s judgments are still on the agenda of media theorists.

As I have pointed at the beginning, since media can barely define real experience of social life due to their bond with political and capital sources, media have been endeavoring to manage perception of audiences rather than reflecting reality… They are explicitly concerned with serving their particular (special) interest groups. Put it differently, media can reflect events not as real but their interpretations… Therefore some ethical dilemmas, new moral questions have been emerging every single day in different forms… On the contrary, in order to maintain social justice and equality among people, media should be impartial and need to communicate and concern all cultural groups.

People initially socialize with his family… Then socialization process maintains with our friends, relatives and school… Last stage of socialization emerges with mass media. In this stage, there will be some ethical dilemmas within the relationship between the media and societies. As the former one easily directs society’s attitudes. In fact media did not indicate what occurs in reality but it creates a world which includes their realities. To comprehend that aspect of media, it could be beneficial to be skeptical and seek the answers of those questions: Could it be stated that ‘contemporary developments in media, for instance globalization, the internet, proliferation of the media platforms can be accepted as marking our entry into a new period characterized by unprecedented forms of mediated social relations?’ Is it too naive to claim that media determines the boundaries of our perceptions? From my standpoint, it could be stated that it is the major determinant of our perceptions. In order to highlight this, it might be beneficial to quote: ‘In present era of globalization, majority of people in the society depends on information and communication to remain connected with the world and do daily activities like work, entertainment, health care, education, socialization, travelling and anything else that we have to do’. We travel where suggested by travel programs. Our political views are shaped according to political debates on the media… We have an idea on events which we have not experienced so far… We buy what we are told to buy by the media. We consume what they promote us. Briefly, we perceive what media reflects. Conversely, until media has been that much dominant and distinctive in our lives, we had perceived world and defined things by using our senses. Needless to say, due to mass media, people are encompassed with subjectivity, mobility, excessive amount of disinformation but the reality…

References:

Mass Media and Its influence on society (M.A Mughal)

http://www.svsd.net/cms/lib5/PA01001234/Centricity/Domain/1084/communication_power_point.pptx

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2507145-ways-of-seeing

The Media and Social Theory (David Hesmondhalgh & Jason Toynbee)

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