Media as a Tool in Conflict Prevention

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The 20th century marked the beginning of the age of media, today media is known to be the fourth yet immensely powerful supporter of the state. Importance of media cannot be denied in the present era of information technology where masses are 24/7 connected to media through television, mobile phones, radio, newspapers etc. The influence of individuals to different references of media helps it play an essential part in opinion building. Media is source of information and education that will make outline to the daily choices in people’s life. Media basically construct their opinions built or alter their perceptions. Due to the rapid and advanced technology world is global village. Connecting the world together just at the distance of one button click. Stories and concerns of people from the remote areas of Afghanistan and china to the vast desserts of Arabia and the problems faced by the people of superpowers to the difficulties in the life of Africans all are at everyday screens of our dinner table.

Media has a strong connection with the politics and social issues in contemporary strategic environment. As a source of communication or information between state and people, and between states, the earlier role of media has widened and transformed. Now every actor works in the environment that is shaped by the media. Media shapes the perceptions of individuals and leaders. And on these perceptions every actor formulates the policies, mostly during the circumstances of crises or political changes. Media shapes the perceptions of leaders and people. And on the basis of these perceptions the political actors formulate the policies, especially during the situations of crisis or political changes i.e. elections.  Media works either under the pressure of government laws or under the influence of financial, as media has become a moneymaking industry.

Today, media has pervaded almost every sphere of human interaction. The human minds are being constantly bombarded with information. This information either consciously or subconsciously shapes the human mind. Humans tend to view the world through certain social ideals, which they are taught, to make sense of the world around them. Humans use these social ideals to formulate opinions and give value laden judgments on issues. The information on media not only appeals to these social ideal to foment a desirable public opinion, but also shapes these social ideals. For instance a child who grows up watching Western media is more prone to be acceptable of western values and social ideals, while a person who has not watched Western media is likely to be resistant of Western values. Nowadays the Media also appeals to universal human emotions to arouse a desirable course of action. Media plays an important role in defining human attitudes and behaviors. This power of media can be used by the state to enhance a sense of nationalism within its populace.

Information is the ultimate power and insight can impact public discourse.  Hence, perceptions are often altered due to access to media. Different forms of media are employed globally to disseminate knowledge and idealistically speaking, free mass media may be an enabler of and a signpost for democracy. Freedom of expression is not only the basis of a healthy media but also a fundamental human right, vital for a democratic arrangement. Media stands as a symbolization of freedom of speech, the right to information and the representation of diversity in opinions of a heterogeneous society. In any culture of prevention, free and democratic media is a crucial segment, indispensable for societies working towards making a transition into peaceful and democratic entities. As Harry S. Truman once stated, “You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgements about what is going on’’.

In case of a predicament or a dispute, the international media can amass global attention. The mass media is a paramount part of our daily ritual especially in industrialized countries and thus being able to shine highlight conflicts anywhere in the world. Since most military conflicts recently have governmental and not territorial roots; the parties involved are often concerned with ensuring that masses support their narrative and take their side, which holds a lot of potential for misrepresentation of facts. For this particular reason, it is vital for the world’s public to have access to unbiased global media, free from political intrusion.

Journalism can not only help in distributing information but also counter hate-speech and make an environment of balanced opinions, an information equilibrium. This way people are often addressed directly, and their own personal experiences and lives can be incorporated far better, than with foreign media. Broadcasting news by utilizing network radios can help reach people in various zones, even with various dialects without any problem. In this way people are often communicated directly also their personal life experiences can be incorporated rather than with foreign media.

Internal clashes don’t happen unexpectedly, yet they have general history. Nearby media ordinarily have a more profound comprehension of the predominant political structures, the members of the contention likewise on the grounds that the progressions going before the episode of viciousness. The media can consequently not just impact society before the contention by perceiving and appropriately tending to the trouble yet in addition a short time later.

In the contemporary era, media enormous power cannot be denied. Over the past few decades, media has been influential in impacting people’s thinking on political, military and social issues. The overarching strategic goal of the international community should be to achieve cohesiveness in the society. The tactics through which it achieves this objective are plenty, the possibilities are as much as our imagination. The people, states all over the world needs to view themselves as a single cohesive unit without any fragmentation. To achieve this cohesiveness there needs to be some social ideals which are acceptable to all. The impact of electronic media on the behavior of human, impact on their mind. It is indeed considered a “mirror” of our society, culture, norms and values that shape our lives, mindset and perceptions of reality the way it wants.

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Tahama Asad
About Tahama Asad 4 Articles
The author has recently completed her degree of Strategic Studies from National Defense University, Islamabad. She has previously worked for Pakistan House, Pakistan Council on China, Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR) and Centre of Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS). Her major areas of interest include Strategic Stability of South Asia, Geo-Politics in Indo-Pacific Ocean and National Security.

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