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I am author of the books Political Internet(Routledge, 2017), Intimate Speakers ( Fingerprint! 2017), has finished the typescript of three books—first, on Internet and sexuality; second, on the negative impacts of social media; and third, a novel—and is presently working on a narrative non-fiction with the working title Lovescape: Why India is afraid of love.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Open Course:Media and Politics (6D04 POL) Model Questions



VI Semester Undergraduate Degree Examination 2012
Political Science
Open Course:Media and Politics (6D04 POL)
Model Questions
Government Brennen College
Time 2 hrs                                                                                                                                          
Objective type.This part consist of two bunches of question carrying equal weightage of One .Each bunch consist of Four objective questions.Answer all

I         1) A positive view of the political role of the media sees it as...
a) a way of keeping people harmlessly amused when times are hard. b) a way of promoting constructive 'role models' for young people c) much more trustworthy than politicians d) at its best, a potential check on executive power.
2) Which of the following DOES NOT limit the freedom of expression of a newspaper?
a) Advertisers, b) Legislation, c) 'Spin doctors', d) PTI,
3)Which institution in India recently decided to use social media sites to encourage votesto participate in electoral process (a) UPSC   b)Election Commission  c)Planning Commission d)Editors Guild
4) In which of the following country media debate is crucial for the Presidential election (a) France b) USA c) India d) Mexico
Weightage 1
II                     5)Who among the following said four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets? a)Nepoleon, b)Gandhi,c)Winston churchil,d)Tostoy
6)Pick the odd one out ?a)CNN-IBN, b)NDTV24X7, c)Times Now,d)Star News
7)The ……..Media company has launched India first e-paper.a)Sunrise,b)Wikileaks,c)Manorama,d)Goderej
8)identify the wrong statement ?
a)Facebook is a social networking platform
b)Twitter is a micro blogging site
c)Blogger is a video sharing platform
d)Linkedin is a professional networking platform
Weightage 1

Answer any Six questions in one or two sentences.Each carries

8.Global Media
9.Manufacturing Consent
10.Media freedom under Constitution
11.Social Media
12.”Hot” and “Cool” media
13.Mass Media
14.Reuters
15.Media in Election Scenario
16.Spin Doctors
17.New Media
18.Inftainment
Weightage 1X6

Short essay(answer may not exceed 100 words) Answer any Four

19.Who are the political communicators in a given society ?
20.Discuss social media ? Do you think it is likely to surpass traditional media ?
21.Illustrate the context of political communication ?
22.Critically evaluate soft news ?
23.What is manufacturing consent and who propounded it on what context  ?
24.Examine the media regulatory frame work in India ?
25.How do you evaluate media ownership debate ?
26.Evaluate the role of media in authoritarian political system ?
Weightage 2X4


Essay(answer may not exceed 400 words) Answer only One.

27.Discuss different theories of political impacts of media  ?
28.Evaluate media ethics ?Is it advisable to let media for self censorship ? Writ down twoinstances where media credibility has been questioned in contemporary India ?
29.Illustrtae direct and indirect form of political communication?Do you think direct form of      political communication is mediated and destabilizes democracy ?
Weightage 4X1
       Total weightage 20                                                                                              






Media and Politics : Theories of Political impacts




Mass media is politically significant in many ways. The mass media as a collection of societal institutions that are concerned with the production and distribution of all forms of knowledge, information and entertainments.In many respect media is a powerful political actor.
Why media is significantly a political actor ?
First of all, the impact of the so called primary agent of political socialization, such as family,social class  has declined because of the spread of individualist mind and consumerist tendencies.So abiding political allegiance and and habitual voting patterns have given way to more instrumental approach to politics.And people now a days makes political choice based on personal self interest  based on issues and policy positions on offer.this widened the scope of media political influence .Media so becomes orincipal mechanism through which information about issues and policies and therefore political choices are presented to public at large.
Secondly, the development of mass television audience and more recently proliferation of channels has virtually penetrated in to peoples evry day life.So public now heavily rely on mass media than before.TV is now important source of news and current events than party meeting.Sprting is done more on TV than being participated in it,shopping is more done in TV and Internet than actually shopping on multiplex,Cinema is more done in TV than it is at the Movie theatre …this goes on….
Thirdly,the media has now become a powerful economic actor.Not only media has become a powerful global player,the erstwhile, publishing, music, film, computers,telecommunications, etc has been merged in to single massive infotainment industry.( M Scammel 2000 New Media and New Politics).Media has acquired power which no government can ignore.
A series of rival theories exist to understand media’s political influence. None of the theories are sufficient enough to explain it single handedly.
The pluralist model of the media as an ideological marketplace in which a wide range of views are debated and discussed. It  portrays media in positive terms. media is seen as a watchdog of democracy. pluralism promotes diversity.Media and new media has strengthened pluralism and political competition by giving protest groups a relatively cheap and highly effective  means of disseminating information. Watergate Scandal-Richard Nixon 1974 .
The dominant-ideology model of the media as a politically conservative force that is aligned to the interests of economic and social elite. Media tries to promote passivity amongst the masses.Marx and Gramsci says  media propagate bourgeois ideas and maintain capitalist hegemony.Media acts in the best interest of corporations and media moguls.Ownership determine political and other views .
Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman in Manufacturing consent 1994 in the from of ” Propaganda Model “ . They identify five ‘filters’ through which news and political coverage are distorted by structure of media itself.
-the business interests of owner
-sensitivity to views and concerns of advertisers andsponsors
-sourcing of news and information frm agents of power such as govt and business backed think tanks
-flak or pressure applied to journalists including threats of legal action
-unquestioning belief in the benefits of market competition and consumer capitalism
Chomsky analyses the extent by which media can subvert democracy.
The elite values model of the media as a mechanism through which editors, journalist and broadcasters are able to portray their own views as those of the general public.It analyses mechanism through which media out put is controlled.it assumes media professional and journalist enjoy professional freedom.Media’s political bias is reflected in the values of groups that are its senior most professionals.socilaist bias,liberal intellectual bias,feminist argue patriarchal bias etc
The market model of the media as a business controlled by the tastes and preferences of its consumers.
See the movie Swa Le….
It holds that TV and Newspaper reflect rather than shape views of public.Media is business concerned.Media gives public what they want .It shows more interest in personal lives and private conduct of political figure.TV is more obsessed with image than issue.

Media effects on society ?




Most people accept the idea that the media can influence people. But the degree of that influence, as well as who is most-impacted, when, how and why, have been the subjects of great debate among communication scholars for nearly a century. Media effects refers to the many ways individuals and society may be influenced by both news and entertainment mass media, including film, television, radio, newspapers, books, magazines, websites, video games, and music.
The limited-effects theory argues that because people generally choose what to watch or read based on what they already believe, media exerts a negligible influence. This theory originated and was tested in the 1940s and 1950s. Studies that examined the ability of media to influence voting found that well-informed people relied more on personal experience, prior knowledge, and their own reasoning. However, media “experts” more likely swayed those who were less informed. Critics point to two problems with this perspective. First, they claim that limited-effects theory ignores the media's role in framing and limiting the discussion and debate of issues. How media frames the debate and what questions members of the media ask change the outcome of the discussion and the possible conclusions people may draw. Second, this theory came into existence when the availability and dominance of media was far less widespread.
The class-dominant theory argues that the media reflects and projects the view of a minority elite, which controls it. Those people who own and control the corporations that produce media comprise this elite. Advocates of this view concern themselves particularly with massive corporate mergers of media organizations, which limit competition and put big business at the reins of media—especially news media. Their concern is that when ownership is restricted, a few people then have the ability to manipulate what people can see or hear. For example, owners can easily avoid or silence stories that expose unethical corporate behavior or hold corporations responsible for their actions.
The issue of sponsorship adds to this problem. Advertising dollars fund most media. Networks aim programming at the largest possible audience because the broader the appeal, the greater the potential purchasing audience and the easier selling air time to advertisers becomes. Thus, news organizations may shy away from negative stories about corporations (especially parent corporations) that finance large advertising campaigns in their newspaper or on their stations. Television networks receiving millions of dollars in advertising from companies like Nike and other textile manufacturers were slow to run stories on their news shows about possible human-rights violations by these companies in foreign countries. Media watchers identify the same problem at the local level where city newspapers will not give new cars poor reviews or run stories on selling a home without an agent because the majority of their funding comes from auto and real estate advertising. This influence also extends to programming. In the 1990s a network cancelled a short-run drama with clear religious sentiments, Christy, because, although highly popular and beloved in rural America, the program did not rate well among young city dwellers that advertisers were targeting in ads.
Critics of this theory counter these arguments by saying that local control of news media largely lies beyond the reach of large corporate offices elsewhere, and that the quality of news depends upon good journalists. They contend that those less powerful and not in control of media have often received full media coverage and subsequent support. As examples they name numerous environmental causes, the anti-nuclear movement, the anti-Vietnam movement, and the pro-Gulf War movement.
While most people argue that a corporate elite controls media, a variation on this approach argues that a politically “liberal” elite controls media. They point to the fact that journalists, being more highly educated than the general population, hold more liberal political views, consider themselves “left of center,” and are more likely to register as Democrats. They further point to examples from the media itself and the statistical reality that the media more often labels conservative commentators or politicians as “conservative” than liberals as “liberal.”
Media language can be revealing, too. Media uses the terms “arch” or “ultra” conservative, but rarely or never the terms “arch” or “ultra” liberal. Those who argue that a political elite controls media also point out that the movements that have gained media attention—the environment, anti-nuclear, and anti-Vietnam—generally support liberal political issues. Predominantly conservative political issues have yet to gain prominent media attention, or have been opposed by the media. Advocates of this view point to the Strategic Arms Initiative of the 1980s Reagan administration. Media quickly characterized the defense program as “Star Wars,” linking it to an expensive fantasy. The public failed to support it, and the program did not get funding or congressional support.
The culturalist theory, developed in the 1980s and 1990s, combines the other two theories and claims that people interact with media to create their own meanings out of the images and messages they receive. This theory sees audiences as playing an active rather than passive role in relation to mass media. One strand of research focuses on the audiences and how they interact with media; the other strand of research focuses on those who produce the media, particularly the news.
Theorists emphasize that audiences choose what to watch among a wide range of options, choose how much to watch, and may choose the mute button or the VCR remote over the programming selected by the network or cable station. Studies of mass media done by sociologists parallel text-reading and interpretation research completed by linguists (people who study language). Both groups of researchers find that when people approach material, whether written text or media images and messages, they interpret that material based on their own knowledge and experience. Thus, when researchers ask different groups to explain the meaning of a particular song or video, the groups produce widely divergent interpretations based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, and religious background. Therefore, culturalist theorists claim that, while a few elite in large corporations may exert significant control over what information media produces and distributes, personal perspective plays a more powerful role in how the audience members interpret those messages.
There are three major theories I would like to introduce…you to. They are:

  • The two-step flow theory
  • The gatekeeper theory
  • The agenda-setting theory

Scholars for years have tried to find a single theory that explains how mass communication works. Some theories look good and receive a lot of attention for a while until a new one comes along. No one theory completely explains how it all works, but there is value to each in understanding the overall process.

Two-Step Flow Theory

The two-step flow theory of mass communication builds on the reality that it is not always possible to get your message directly toyour intended audience. Because of selectivity problems ,communication is facilitated by a filtering process.
Rather than seek out everyone you want to get your message to, you instead seek out opinion leaders in society. Get your message to them and they will filter it down to those who listen to them. Some of those listeners are opinion leaders for others and will filter the message down to their followers.
An example of an opinion leader in the mass media might be a movie critic. The message sender, in this case the movie team, shows the movie to the critic who then writes a review that others will read. The review will influence the readers, who will decide whether or not to go to the movie. Of course, it is well known that the best opinion leaders are people you personally know. How many of you know a movie critic? You will look to the opinion leaders you know for information. But where do they get their information and how do they form their opinions? One source is the movie critic. We can each be opinion leaders and followers/listeners in different situations. The trick for the mass media folks is in identifying opinion leaders and then reaching them.

Gatekeeper Theory

Imagine that you are in charge of a flock of sheep. You've got the sheep in a fenced off field and they've eaten most of the grass. Next to your field is another field of luscious grass, but it is only half the size of the field your sheep currently are in. If you let all the sheep into the new field there will not be enough grass to go around. You've got to decide which sheep to allow into the new field. So you stand by the gate that joins the two fields and make decisions. Will you allow only the white sheep into the new field? Only the black sheep? The spotted sheep? The healthy sheep? The sickly sheep that need the grass the most? You are the gatekeeper and you decide the criteria.
Gatekeepers in the media are the same. They have many more messages --stories, ads, movies, television shows, songs, etc.-- to send than they can accommodate. So they decide which messages get through, which stories will appear in today's paper, which television shows will be broadcast, which songs to broadcast, etc. Newspaper editors, news directors, and others in the media are gatekeepers.

Agenda-Setting Theory

What's the newest must-see movie? What is the popular pharmaceutical? What's the latest on that war overseas? How do you know what I am talking about? It's because of the media, that' is why.We are all free to think what we want to think about the latest movie, but the fact that we are even talking about the movie is because the media have told us it is important. The idea behind the agenda-setting theory is that the media are good at telling us what to think about.
A plane crashes or there is a disaster in another country. We all have feelings about it even though it does not affect our lives at all. The media has set the agenda by the choices the gatekeepers have made. An interesting aspect of the agenda-setting function is that editors --gatekeepers-- are all making independent decisions all over the country every day. But if you were to pick up a copy of the Times of Indiaes, The Hindu, the Tribune, the Statesman,the NDTV, CNN-IBN ,Headlines Today,Times Now,etc. you would find some of the same stories on the front page of each. Further, you'd find those same stories leading the national, and perhaps local, television newscasts. The news media at times can be quite homogenous even though their decisions are all made independently. Do you suppose that even the gatekeepers have their opinion leaders?