The Role of Mass Media: Application by Government and Society

by Fadzil Hadri bin Mohd Nawawi

Nowadays, we could describe that the communication have expand and evolve to the borderless world. Most of the public and society could communicate through various channel and platform including media. It is one of the most powerful tools of communication in the developing countries, as well as in the developed countries. It can aid in promoting the right things at a right point of time, or can make use of any situation to create disturbance around the people or in the society (Biswas, 2016). Could we imagine the world without boundaries? People communicate to one another as present without limitation including demographic, cost and more. The development is also positively affecting information communication technology (ICT) where people sharing information, news and messages through available sources.  This evolvement is due to mass media that become influential sources of present communication. What is mass media? Mass media is communication—whether written, broadcast, or spoken—that reaches a large audience. This includes television, radio, advertising, movies, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and so forth.

One of the significant mass media role for government is it has become the government source of information channel. In early days and in an effort in achieving independence, the mass media especially newspaper and radio has become the propaganda channel. The freedom fighters will plays the national issue in order to instill the national spirit among the citizen. However, as present, the emergence of media has seen transformation from the traditional media to the new media era particularly through the connection of internet. In the today context, the traditional media comprising its print and broadcast components are being increasingly challenged by modern media in cyber space such as the internet, the blog, and the SMS, in the market of news, views and previews (Stephen Tan, 2006). Therefore, most of the governments used mass media in order to deliver their messages including policy to the public. Despite using traditional media which is newspaper, television and radio, the government also spreading the information and messages via new media such as blog, social media platform, SMS and more.

Furthermore, in order to persuade the public and society to maintain support, the government apply social media, blog and news portal as part of their political campaign. New media have become a significant channel in order to attract support especially between the young adult and youngsters. Frequent uses among youngsters of Internet are watching videos, using search engines for finding new knowledge and information, and downloading or uploading music or videos (Shanti, 2010). The trends show that the society especially among young generations prefers new media of source of information. Therefore, the government has enhanced its new media platform in order to persuade the public to maintain their support to the government and in the same time delivers latest government announcement, policy and more.

The mass media for government also plays a role in providing new education branch specifically focusing in media. Since the formation of traditional media in pre and post-independence period, the government note that the requirement to enhance the public especially among student to focus on media studies. Since then, the media education has become one of the prominence social science fields to be chosen by student. The wider agenda was to churn out trained and competent ‘professionals’ for a country that was still rather young and needed to develop its economy rather quickly (Z.Nain, 2003). The government believes that the media plays a vital role in shaping community resulting to the decision of media professionals training among the young generation. The majority of media academics received their higher degrees from Western – principally American – universities (Z.Nain, 2003). The situation resulting to the direction of media studies which taking Western perspective as main sources.

Therefore, the evolvement of media studies which many are offered in private and public education institution giving a new light to the local media education. Furthermore, the mass media also have been transformed as an education channel as well as method in learning and teaching. Most of educators and academician probably transform into electronic-learning (E-Learning) as learning and teaching method. This method particularly provides a new teaching and learning excitement among students. For example, there are few E-Learning channels in most of the nations introduced by the government (via government linked-companies) or academic institution of Smart School, Edu-Web TV, I-Learn and more. E-learning platform tools for automatic knowledge check, systems of questionnaires and voting as well as systems of communication between students and academic teachers increase students’ motivation for regular and independent studying which in final effects gives comparable and slightly better results than traditional methods (Półjanowicz, 2011).

Nonetheless, the mass media also plays a vital role in generating economic income to the nation. The economic perspective generated through the platform of advertising that considered transmitted to the audience through mass media channel. Advertising is the non-personal communication of information usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature about products, services or ideas by identified sponsors through the various media (Bovee, 1992). Usually advertiser will purchase advertisement either through printed, electronic and new media in order to promote their product and in the same time persuade the public. As present, most of advertisers opt for new and digital media that enhance the capability to reach target audiences especially among young adults.

The advertising industry today is showing a change in the traditional media to include the digital media in order to reach audience more effectively (MCMC, 2009). Hence, the evolvement of advertising industry plays a significant role in generating economic income to the government via tax collection. The government could apply all the tax collection and contribute back to the society via services including health, transportation and more. Furthermore, mass media through advertising industry also creates job opportunities among the young generation especially fresh graduates. The job opportunities offered through the industry consists of graphic and creative design, ads installation, media analysis and more. Therefore, it also creating and supporting the human resources needs among the society through the job opportunities.

Interestingly, mass media role have been applied as communication channel through social media platform. Social media are web-based communication tools that enable people to interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information (Nations, 2017). The social media platforms that actively applied consist of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. It means that through social media, people could have an unlimited communication to one another including the among nation’s leader. Our very own Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is also among the rank of world leaders who use Twitter to connect with fellow Malaysians at home and abroad (Khushairi, 2017). Through social media, society could interact to one another including sharing information, data, picture, music and more. Social media allows everyone to be more approachable and personal in sharing updates and comments daily (Khusairi, 2017). There could be vast reasons the application of social media as communication platform which are convenient, affordable, mobile, borderless, limitless and more. For example, pertaining gathering support from public, a politician could communicate with his/her social media followers in order to share thought, activity, announcement and persuasion.

Most of the nation leader could have their own social media team to enhance the engagement with the public. Meanwhile, the public especially young adults tend to apply social media for communication enhancement. Somehow, most of the interaction and verbal talk happening through social media platform and it have become a present trend. It’s difficult to predict anything exactly, but if one thing can be said about the future of social media, it will probably be more personalized and less noisy (Nations, 2017). Nonetheless, through the development of technology, social media will become a partial and vital changing agent in shaping the future society.

Hence, mass media have become needs among the global society including Malaysian. As discussed above, mass media role could be concluded into several perspectives that are government source of information channel, providing new education branch specifically focusing in media, generating economic income to the nationand applied as communication channel through social media platform. Furthermore, most of the society applies mass media as present main source of information. They tend to choose mass media as communication sources due to the flexibility and reliability of the media. Even though the media could have negative impact and effect, people could still rely in order to meet individual gratification as explained by Uses and Gratifications Theory[WN1]  (Musa, Nazri & Salina, 2015). Furthermore, while granting the media some effects, the theory gives the audience more credibility and holds that people actively seek out specific media and specific content to generate specific gratifications or result (West & Turner, 2014). It is depending to the society on how applying the mass media since it could also be inviting negative effects. Users consists of government and public should be wisely and effectively applies mass media as according to the suitability in order to enhance the development of the nations and society. Perhaps the mass media would promote national development and in the same time maintain the human relationship between societies.


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