|Abuse of the media is incompatible with democracy||
The notion of democracy portrayed by Western intellectuals views the role of the media as strengthening democratic system. In other words, in the Western style of democracy, the media are tasked with monitoring and evaluating the performance of the executive, judiciary and the legislative branches of government.
However, in practice, rather than evaluating and overseeing the performance of the government, the media in the West have been transformed into a new tool for domination and hegemony. In fact, contrary to their original mission, which is to inform the public about the performance of the government, the media are now a tool for mobilizing public opinion in favor of politicians. In this way, giants of politics and economy residing in the centers of power use the media to harm a specific individual or group in order to protect their own interests.
Today, the role of the media in the West is not to consolidate democracy, but rather it is merely an instrument benefiting those possessing power and money.
In the recent media scandal in Britain, the media itself become a tool to trespass the privacy of individuals in an illegal manner and to produce controversial headlines and sensational stories which was aimed at making more money. The case is not a new development, but the type of revelations made by the media is different from the past.
The widespread violation of civil rights and media ethics is a determining factor in the recent scandal. Some believe that there are political figures behind the scene who are trying to undermine Rupert Murdoch's global reputation in the media industry. However the scandal marks the beginning of a new trend on the British political scene.
In recent years, especially after the September 11 attacks, a large volume of personal information including emails and mobile conversations of citizens has been controlled by the security system with the excuse of fighting against terrorism. But all of a sudden it is revealed that this information has been transferred to the media, this time without any excuse.
Therefore, unlike their real mission to strengthen democracy, the media nowadays have become a tool for abusing power and deflecting public opinion by Western governments. This is not a part of the democratic system, but a sign of abusing power which is exactly the opposite side of democracy.
*Hassan Beheshti-Poor is a foreign affairs analyst based in Tehran and the former director of Al-Alam News Network.
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