Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Whoever Controls The Media Controls The Mind †

Question: Discuss about the Whoever Controls The Media Controls The Mind. Answer: Introduction Whoever controls the media, controls the mind. The above quoted lines of Jim Morrison from An America Prayer clearly indicate the power which the media holds in the present world. Therefore, it is often seen that there is an initiative on the part of the various entities in a nation to control as well as the censor the media. The censorship of media can be defined as the process by means of which the powers of the media are curtailed down and its duty to report the news to the public with absolute honesty is usurped (Vivian and Maurin 2012). This is often done with the objective to keep the actual news or information from being conveyed to the people, which might portray the authorities in the negative light. It is to be noted that that the process is a very ancient one and several books and other literary pieces were censor by the throne of England in the traditional times. John Milton, the famous Puritan poet protested against the process of censorship in his famous tract Areopagitica, published in the year 1644, in lines like Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties (Vivian and Maurin 2012). This essay intends to study the process of censorship of media in the two countries of Australia and China. This is the thesis statement of this particular essay. Discussion Australia stands on the 18th position whereas China stands on the 88th position on the list of countries with the most liberal policies towards the media (Butler and Rodrick 2017). The nation of Australia, being a commonwealth, provides the freedom of expression to its citizens and thereby ensures the freedom of press (Butler and Rodrick 2017). The nation of China, on the other hand, is controlled by the Communist Party of China and all the apparatus of the State like media, rival political parties are controlled by the ruling party itself (Tai 2014). Therefore, not only the freedom of expression of the people is usurped but the freedom of press is also grossly misappropriated (Yang 2012). Commenting on the importance of the free media, George Washington said, If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter (Vivian and Maurin 2012). Therefore, the presence of a free as well as uncensored media is very essential for a nation. The Chinese government has complete control over the functioning of its media, the publication of books, newspapers and other sources of information (Yang 2012). The Communist Party of China have declared a punishment of up to 12 years for the whistle blowers and 6 years for the journalists who try to portray a negative image of the ruling Party (Bamman, O'Connor and Smith 2012). It is also to be noted that recently several journalists were imprisoned for reporting against the government under the reign of the President Xi Jinping. In another instance, in Macau, the journalists and media personnels were subjected to actual torture for carrying out their duties (Tai 2014). The process of censorship of media reached to an all time with the introduction of the new SAPPRFT (Tai 2014). According to this new regulation the media personnels and journalists are not allowed to portray the governmental authorities in the new light and also not supposed to reveal information which might prove d etrimental to the interests of the ruling government (Tai 2014). Several journalists were exiled and subjected to inhuman tortures for revealing the atrocities committed by the police and political figures like Leung Chun-Yin (Bamman, O'Connor and Smith 2012). Another interesting fact to note about the censorship of media in China is that one in four website which are easily accessible through the search engine Google has been blocked by the government of China through their filtering process (Curtin 2012). The total number of websites blocked by the Chinese government is around 923 and more than 26% citizens of China have been affected by this censorship (Curtin 2012). Thus, it can be said that the Communist Party of China governs the nation of China just like a dictator would rule his or her state. Thus, the media as well as the citizens of the nation are deprived of their basic rights like freedom of expression, right to information, freedom of press and various others which are in-congenial for the blossoming of democratic and republican nation (Yang 2012). The Australian government, on the other hand, does not have such a stringent hold over the media of their nation (Vivian and Maurin 2012). The government of Australia, in comparison to the government of China, is quiet liberal in their attitude towards to the media of their land. In the commonwealth nation of Australia, the power to censor the media is vested with the state as well as the federal government, where the federal government can make laws relating the media communication and the kind of news which is being broadcasted or printed (Butler and Rodrick 2017). The state government oversees the sale as the broadcast of the printed items, including the newspapers, books and others and also the various digital platforms through which information is being conveyed to the people (Butler and Rodrick 2017). It is interesting to note that the earliest instance of censorship of media in Australia was the censorship of the book Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence in the year 1929 ( Butler and Rodrick 2017). The Australian Classification Board (ACB) formed in the year 1970 oversees the censorship of movies and other digital means through which information can be conveyed to the people just like the Communist Party of China (Vivian and Maurin 2012). Along with that, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, also oversees the work of censorship of the media (Vivian and Maurin 2012). In Australia, in the recent times, there have been several instances where the journalists have been reprimanded for representing the truth just like the journalists in China. The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull himself said the role of journalists was to stand up to the powerful, adding that our democracy depends vitally on a free and courageous press who are not cowed by governments and by big vested interests (Butler and Rodrick 2017). However, there are certain respects in which the censorship of media in both the countries is almost similar. For example, in Au stralia, several journalists were convicted when they tried to report the inhumanities conducted during one of the anti-terrorism raids of the special intelligence operations (SIOs) (McGowan 2018). It is also interesting to note that just the Chinese government, the Australian government has a rule that if a journalist reports on such activities then he or she will be imprisoned for around 12 years ( 2018). Another interesting fact to note is that as many as 9 journalists have been killed in Australia in the past 42 years and not a single person has being punished for their death ( 2018). Conclusion Therefore, from the above discussion it becomes clear that freedom is one of the most important aspects of the media of any nation. The above study clearly indicates that in both the countries of Australia and China, the media is subjected to censorship. The process of censorship of media is lesser in Australia in comparison to the nation of China, where the power of the media is completely curtailed down. It is important to note that the censorship of media can be seen as the repression of the fundamental rights like freedom of expression, right to information, and other basic rights of the people. References Bamman, D., O'Connor, B. and Smith, N., 2012. Censorship and deletion practices in Chinese social media.First Monday,17(3). Butler, D.A. and Rodrick, S., 2017.Australian media law. Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited. Curtin, M., 2012. Chinese media and globalization.Chinese Journal of Communication,5(1), pp.1-9. McGowan, M. 2018.UN warns Australia against imposing 'draconian penalties' on journalists. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 4 Mar. 2018]. Tai, Q., 2014. China's media censorship: A dynamic and diversified regime.Journal of East Asian Studies,14(2), pp.185-210. Vivian, J. and Maurin, P.J., 2012.The media of mass communication. Pearson Canada. 2018.Press freedom is under attack, not least in Australia The Walkley Foundation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Mar. 2018]. Yang, A., 2012. Understanding the Changing Chinese Media: Through the Lens of Crises.China Media Research,8(2).

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