The Media and Public Opinion

Information regarding the media and public opinion.

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Parliamentary Influences The Media and Public Opinion Unit
1AI
The term media refers to all channels by which information is to the public. These
channels include television, newspapers, magazines and the radio. There is a clear and
direct link between the media and the opinion of the public.
Members of the public can make their views and feeling known to parliament by joining
a pressure group, contacting their MP or a minister or contacting a source of media. In
reverse matters of importance can be made aware to the public using the media
meaning that the media both represents the opinion of the public and influences it. Due
to the fact that MPs within the House of Commons are democratically elected it is
inevitable that the media is able to exert a fair amount of influence over the reform of the
law.
Some media sources available to the public must remain
politically neutral for example television stations and radio
stations however others do not newspapers have no
obligation to remain neutral so often show political bias for
example the Sun newspaper was a major supporter of the
labour party up until the general election of 2010 during
which they had a fall out leading to them supporting the conservative party.
The Media and Public Opinion in Action
The name and shame campaign which was ran by the News of the World in 2000, the
campaign was started following the murder of a child at the hands of a paedophile, the
campaign gained support and the paper began to publish the pictures and living details
of the nation's paedophiles. The government needed to act quickly because panic was
growing in the population and there was the worry that people would be harmed
particularly those who were innocent, the campaign cause a law to be passed that
required the police to maintain a register of convicted paedophiles.
The Snowdrop campaign was started after a school shooting in Dunblane the campaign
gained to support of the public and various newspapers which eventually led to the
government passing legislation on the ban of handguns.
The media has also changed the way that MPs can now claim on their expenses due to
the recent scandal of MPs abusing that right being well publicised which has caused
uproar within the general public.
Evaluating the Media and Public Opinion
+ The media raise government awareness of certain issues to inform them of the
concerns held by the public.
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Parliamentary Influences The Media and Public Opinion Unit
1AI
+ The media can also raise public awareness which is essential for the
government to feel pressured into making law reforms because the government
are ultimately answerable to the electorate
- While some forms of media must remain politically neutral others don't, such as
newspapers. This means that the public could be influenced as a result of
political bias. See example above.…read more

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