Importance Of Mass Media

Media is an important source of information for most people that describes and interpret the events of public life (Callaghan and Schnell 2005). Misrepresentation of events and bias of the media can have major influence on the public perception of an issue and even influence (inter) national assistance and aid (Garner 1996; Entman 2004; Tierney et al. 2006; Kolmer and Semetko 2009).It has been argued that objectivity is difficult because for example: training, upbringing, cultural orientation tend to influence how people report and analyse events (Severin and Tankard 2001). The importance of the role of media in times of war, political conflict, crisis and disaster events has been the subject of many different studies (Garner 1996; Entman 2003; Entman 2004; Alozie 2005; Tierney et al. 2006; Kolmer and Semetko 2009; Lewis and Reese 2009). According to Hesselink et al. (2007), to have an agency’s messages reach the general public, the agency has to build a sound relationship with the media. The press is thus an important channel to reach decision-makers and opinion leaders (GreenCom, 2001).

Mass media is often seen as an important means to shape the expression of political identities and culture (Dittmer, 2005) and influence public perceptions of an issue (Boykoff 2008). Conversely, the policy agenda also often directly influences the media agenda (Rogers and Dearing 2007). Although the media is recognised in the literature as a key actor in influencing policy formulation and implementation, often overlooked are the ‘behind the-scenes’ battles which influence whether an issue gets media coverage or not, and which actors are able to access the media, achieve and secure coverage (Murdock et al. 2003, Anderson 2006, Boykoff and Boyko...

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...9; Muter et al.2009). Study of the content analysis of Human Leopard Conflict in Mumbai (Bhatia et al. 2013), found that the level of evidence based reporting for anything other than episodic; event driven articles were very low in all cases. The study also found that the suggested causes of or solutions of human wildlife conflict in any newspaper was not supported by evidence. Barua, 2010 studied the representation of Human Elephant conflict in Indian and International Media and found that the regional media mentioned poor governance as the ultimate cause of human elephant conflict and important causes like population growth and change in landuse found little mention. The study suggests that if media has to play a role in engaging government, institutional and public support for mitigating conflict then many issues have to be addressed in a more informative way.

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