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Media & Government Relations

This is the post excerpt.

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Each member of our group decided to pick a country and focus on the governmental structure of that specific country to learn how the media relays information to its citizens, and the extent of government control over the communication channels. We wanted to research and discuss both oppressive and democratic media environments.

Final blog post

Why was I interested in the topic I chose?
– One of the big reasons why I was interested in how government and the media in different countries interacted with each other is to just see how big of a difference there was. I’ve always known there are differences from country to country but I was surprised at some of the differences that China had. You just don’t really think about it to much, until you dive into the research and find out things.

How it relates to aspects of this class?
– This class is a global news and culture class so I feel as if the government and media tie right in with everything we’ve talked about the entire semester. The government is usually the backbone of every country’s culture we’ve discussed. Even when a countries government may be lacking or not as strong as others, its still vital to the future.

What was the most interesting thing I learned?
– The most interesting thing I learned about my country that I looked into was that the Chinese people are really unhappy with there government. They are so unhappy that there have been books published talking about how unhappy they are with the way the government works on a daily basis.

If you were to continue to blog on this area of media, what kind of post would you do?
– One of my first ideas would be to blog on the aspect of how involved each countries governments are with the people that live in it. Whether or not information and laws are communicated well between the people and who governs them. Another idea I would have would be to really dive into the happiness of countries as a whole. I would love to find out how happy people really are with there governing bodies. People are always going to disagree with things the government does but whether they are happy overall is key. Also something that may be kind of difficult to research into in some countries would be is who really holds the power in the government. It is put out who supposedly holds the power and influences decisions but it would be interesting to really look into who holds the upper hand and makes most of the decisions.

Patrick May

Last Blog post

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I have always been very interested in all things media related, which is a huge reason I chose to take this course this semester. I like knowing the way media works, how or if it is censored, if anything is truly learned, if it’s dangerous and things of that nature. That is a huge reason I wanted to do a blog about how the media and the government work together. I am all about the idea that we cannot solely rely on media to educate us, there are many things that we should had have to take into our own hands. But what happens when resources are deliberately limited and different mediums are your main source of education?

Our blog post topic relates to the class on many levels. Media is such a huge part of our every day lives as well as lives elsewhere and that’s for better and for worse. In class we learned about many different cultures and on the same token, I learned that it is normal in some places to to have restricted government and they probably don’t even realize because it is such a normal part of life. This class has shown me that is very necessary to look beyond my own culture and way of living, i believe we referred to it as taking off our blinders.

I think the most interesting thing I’ve learned is how different places are on two totally different ends of the freedom spectrum. In the United States we have a strict constitution in place that guarantees a freedom of the press and the citizens in general are really good about calling out any form of suppression. America is a place where it may sometimes be frowned upon when you criticize certain aspects of the government and you may even be blacklisted depending on your status and where you are in the country, but you generally don’t have to worry about being killed for speaking out. The particular country I researched is Nigeria, and I was pretty shocked to learn that journalist are often killed when they oppose government, it was also shocking to know that the government owns most mediums. It is just crazy to me how one country can experience so much happiness and freedom, like the Netherlands, while another place like North Korea, experiences a complete dictatorship. It just never truly occurred to me.

If I were to continue a blog in this area, I would look at every country in the world, or maybe the major countries. I could compare them all on the freedom scale. I could also take the most free countries and the most oppressed countries and compare the current state of violence, education, riots, revolts, health and honestly everything in between. There is a wealth of information that can go into the impacts of the media in different areas.

 

– Janita Hendricks

 

Final Blog Post by Holly Wright

I chose to join the government group when my class selected different sections to focus on because I am intrigued by the influence politics has in nations around the entire globe. I have taken a college course about politics in the media and the relationship the two entities share. I learned how vital it is for the common civilian to have access to a free media environment. Then, I decided to cover The Netherlands because one of my brothers lives there, and I visited him over the summer of 2016. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the country. My dad was born in The Netherlands, so it felt like home automatically for some reason unbeknown to me, since it was my first time visiting. Although, the abundance of cheese and fresh bread may have been why.

This blog relates to my Global News and World Media Culture class because governments have power and many governments on this planet have control over media outlets and oppress the freedom of expression of their citizens. Another college course I have taken that I truly appreciated is Free Expression Mass Media. I learned the importance of allowing humans to have their freedom of speech and the ability to communicate freely and openly, without excessive censorship. I believe having an environment that is unoppressed is the right way to let media operate. The media needs to be a service for the people and by the people.

Taking what I have learned and applying it with knowledge form this class and using a global perspective has been interesting in many ways. The most fascinating thing I learned is that The Netherlands ranks exceptionally well on Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press Report, which impresses me. I also think it’s remarkable how the adults enjoy such a free environment in terms of censorship.

If I were to continue this blog, I would go into more depth about the history of the country. I would focus on its previous government-media relations to analyze its progression and future direction. I would also compare The Netherlands to other countries that are close to it on Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press Report and discuss similarities and differences to give insight on aspects that both countries could improve on. Also, I would like to write about the bordering countries to The Netherlands after researching their government-media relations. I would discuss the influence their government-media environment may have on The Netherlands, and how the The Netherlands affects their bordering countries as well. I enjoyed learning about the government-media relations in a country close to my heart, and I also loved reading my group members posts about other countries. -Holly Wright

Final Blog Entry – Eric Wilson

I have learned so much through the culmination of information that my classmates and I have researched and gathered together in this blog. From Ireland and its high voter participation and vast government services and a relatively free media with heavy influence from the BBC to China and its complete opposite restrictive approach. To Nigeria and its lack of freedom of the press and their restricted critics of their government and the way it is run – to the Netherland and their complete transparency of their government to their media to an extent even more so then our own country. It has been so fun to learn about different governments and the media culture they operate under and around.

The thing that has struck me the most about this blog and this class in general is the way in which it has turned me into more of a global thinker when it comes to media and what is important. Their is so much going on in every corner of this vast interconnected world that we live in and I so appreciate being able to understand those differences in approach, structure and influence of the media globally. I truly believe that until we really become a global thinking society their will continue to be these divisions and misunderstanding of people outside of the culture and country she or he grew up in.

I have always been so fascinated by government relations and politics in general. It is a world that has always captured my heart and my curiosity. Through learning about other governments it has made me just as curious and fascinated about their structure and relationship to the media. I feel now the same excitement when discussing Irish media/government relations as I do when talking about our government/media relations. So, thank you for providing a forum that has truly enlightened and changed my perspective on the world and my place in it as a global citizen.

Eric D Wilson

China

There are many differences in styles and how each country goes about doing things. In the United States peoples political opinions are going to vary from person to person and they may not like how the country is being ran. However, we have the power to influence how the country is ran and enact change if you needed. The Chinese government is going to be ran how the political leaders want it to be ran and the country has a whole doesn’t have much say. From the outside looking in, you may say China has a strong government and the country is ran well. People from inside the country feel that there government is weak and is often trying to much to influence things outside of its borders. They want the problems inside the borders to be fixed person, which should be the most important, right? In the book “Unhappy China” published in 2009, it went over several things that the people inside the country aren’t happy about. The government seems to have an issue solving problems such as food safety, smog in the cities, and the healthy system. I believe these are common things that are basic needs for the people of China.

Another problem the Chinese people have had is that reports came out that the government had a large spy program based in Australia at some of the prestigious universities. It is said the there are over 100,000 protest every year in China so that begs the question of why would they focus on Chinese nationals thousands of miles away when issues right at home aren’t solved? There are tons of problems facing the Chinese community everyday and the government seems to be insecure in the fact that it is worried about things that aren’t even worth spying on. The Chinese have a better chance of controlling things that happen closer to them than far away.

The lack of the power of the people in China is what I believe causes the disconnect between them and the government. In the US, the power is in the peoples hands as we can vote on who we want to be the face of our country. Everyone may not agree on who that should be but at least the power to enact change is available.

 

-Patrick May

The Netherlands

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I believe freedom of expression is vital to the growth of society. Protecting the rights of media channels that communicate information to citizens is imperative. I admire nations who value the capabilities of the media and are convicted to place the power in the people’s hands by cultivating a media environment with a free flow of information from the variety of media outlets in use in this technological age. A nation who is more successful in this endeavor than most other nations of the world is The Netherlands. Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press Report 2015 deems the nation “free” in terms of government involvement in the media.

Article 7 of the constitution protects freedom of expression, and the result is an open, diverse, and accessible media environment. This section of the constitution also states that “no one needs to seek prior permission to express ideas or feelings through the printed press, within everyone’s responsibility with respect to the law.” A paragraph extending this law to include other, newer forms of media was established. The Netherlands also ranked 11 on the Press Freedom score, with zero being the best/highest press freedom and one hundred being the worst/lowest press freedom. In terms of censorship, Dutch adults enjoy a wonderfully free environment. Censorship is very rare, avoided, and is criticized by the Dutch society.

Article 110 of the constitution states that the government is required to be transparent and publish information without restraint. The Government Information Act, also known as the Public Access Act, states that any person has the right to demand information relating to administrative matters. If the sought-after information belongs to a public entity or a private company working for a public entity, the government has to respond in a two-week period. Measures like these usually do not occur in nations around the globe. This proves the commitment The Netherlands has to its citizens, and it represents the relationship between the media and the government. It establishes laws that create an environment centered on the free flow of information on both ends: the civilian side and the government side of the Dutch society.

Furthermore, in 2010, a landmark case occurred when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that media premises are exempt from police searches, and that police may not seize journalistic materials without first obtaining a warrant. This principle was upheld and reinforced in 2012 when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Netherlands violated the European Convention on Human Rights when police officers used coercion to force a couple of journalists to give them their documents. So, there are legal measures that are taken to maintain the free media environment in this country.

To conclude, The Netherlands and its people enjoy a beautifully-free media environment that is not plagued with oppression from the top down. While there are a few exceptions throughout the years, they are few and far between. All in all, The Netherlands is very lucky compared to many other countries around the globe, when it comes to freedom of expression.

-Holly Wright

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Nigeria

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Our blogs are focusing on the relationship between the media and the government and  how the two are used to educate the public.  I chose Nigeria because I know that their media is definitely controlled when it comes to knowing what is going on with the government. You will hardly ever hear of criticisms because journalists are put in extreme danger if they even think about reporting anything even slightly controversial. Knowing this lead me to wonder how the citizens and journalist are effected by the immense lack of knowledge. 

Not only is all state government controlled by the government, but private news organizations are influenced as well.  Private newspapers and radio stations are often owned and run by members of the Nigerian elite, who are more often than not closely linked to political parties. Many of their reports are paid for directly by certain organizations or religious groups or even produced by those groups themselves. Even priests assert direct pressure on the media in Nigeria.  Issues such as women’s right or homosexuality are taboo in the Northern part of the country. 

According to a  country report on the Freedom of the Press website, Nigeria’s press freedom has a score of 53 out of 100.  This is because Nigeria is actually the country with the most varied and vibrant news outlets and there is supposed to be a freedom of expression. 

The constant battle between the guaranteed right to expression and the continuous interference from the government is something that is never ending. The 1999 constitution guarantees freedom of expression and of the press, and in recent years, federal courts have even attempted to expand legal protections for journalists and provide fair rulings on cases involving the media. For example, a high court ruled in 2012 that police had violated the fundamental human rights of Desmond Utomwen, a correspondent for The News magazine and the daily PM News, when they assaulted and detained him as he attempted to cover a peaceful protest outside a private bank in Abuja in 2009. The court awarded Utomwen 100 million naira ($636,000), the largest legal settlement in any Nigerian case involving a journalist.   

Nigeria ranked at 12 on an annual global impunity index, which ranks countries based on the amount of unsolved journalist murders per capita over the preceding decade. Nigerian authorities regularly harass, intimidate, and attack journalists in the field; most journalist actually practice self censorship because of this.  

So clearly, citizens and journalist alike are very much aware of the issues at hand and are actively seeking change. Citizens have the right to public information, but how much information is actually available when journalists are terrified? Policies are always being updated and put in place to expand protection, but I think the only way things could really change is when the position of power shifts over to new people with drastically different ideas of what free expression truly needs.  

Janita Hendricks