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Places and forms of power: the power of the press

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Par   •  20 Avril 2017  •  Dissertation  •  714 Mots (3 Pages)  •  3 249 Vues

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Places and forms of power: The power of the press

I am going to talk today about the notion of places and forms of power and illustrate this notion with the power of the press.

To begin with I would like first to define this notion:

« Places » could be important buildings or institutions that represent a certain form of power, for example Buckingham Palace – a symbol of the British monarchy, the White House – a symbol of the American presidency. A place can also be a country or a state – for example the USA is a state which is powerful enough to influence events throughout the world (superpower) and China is a major economic power in today’s world.

« Power » is the ability to control others, events, or resources; the ability to make things happen despite obstacles, resistance, or opposition. This of course leads to conflict between those who have power and those who don’t.

Democracy relies on three powers: legislative executive and judicial powers. For many years, a new power has influenced people. It is known as the fourth power -   the power of the media, of the press.

The press has such power to influence us?

We studied that there are two types of press: Quality and popular papers. Both of them count many readers.

The quality papers also called “broadsheet” has the role to inform people. They deal with home and overseas news, sport, cultural events, financial and political report, travel news. Journalists have to be objective, giving only the information based on facts and data.  

The popular papers also called tabloids concentrate on the lives of celebrities using a lot of colors and pictures to catch the readers. They focus on scandals, shocking murders and sensational stories and never hesitate to give wrong information to sell more newspapers.

These two types of press have a big power on us. They allow us to know everything that happens in the world and influence our choices when they recommend something for example. The mass media is a matter that touches all our lives. Without cease, virtually every day since early childhood, it has been playing an important role in forming our personality, enriching our background knowledge, providing us with information of any kind.

In some extreme case the press can overthrow the power of another by using abusive and non-ethical practices to be ever more efficient and innovative in the information and make audience.

For example we studied the case of The News of the World, one of the biggest-selling English-language newspaper in the world owned by Rupert Murdoch –a Press Mogul. In 2011 the tabloid was shut down because his journalists had been regularly hacking the phones of celebrities, royalty, public citizens and parents of two murdered girls. This shocking case has called into question the journalistic methods.

As the press is closer to the people and part of the daily life of everyone it has also the power to mobilize people around a common cause and a common vision.

The death of Aylan Kurdi is a good example to illustrate this. The image of this three-year-old Syrian boy made global headlines after he drowned on 2 September 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea. He and his family were Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe amid the European refugee crisis. Photographs of his body were quickly spread around the world, prompting international responses. The death of Kurdi and reports that his family had been trying to ultimately reach Canada had an immediate impact on domestic Canadian politics. Prime Minister Harper simplified immigration procedures immediately after the publication of photos.


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