Journalism and Democracy are considered interdependent because Journalism acts as the
- Source of information for democracy
1. Journalism as source of information for democracy.
It is generally accepted that democracy contributes to good government only when it is well informed. According to Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: “Democracy is a form of government in which supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodic free elections. It implies universal suffrage, competition for office, freedom of speech and the press, and the rule of law.” In a democratic state people vote for all kind of reasons, as is their right, and not always on the basis of rational thought or careful deliberation. But from the normative perspective the democratic ideal is one of informed choice to which the outputs of political journalism are key contributors. Journalists provide the key information on which citizens become able to judge between competing candidates and parties.
2. Journalism as the Watchdog.
In order to prevent the leakage in democracy, journalism is charged with monitoring the exercise of power. Is government competent, efficient and honest? Is it fulfilling it’s responsibilities to the people? Are there programs and policies based on sound judgment and information, and designed with the interest of society as a whole in mind? In its capacity as watchdog journalism sees the activities of governors, on people’s behalf. Journalism plays the vital role in functioning of the democracy accurately.
Journalism plays a role of mediator between citizens and politicians. People’s voices are heard through media. Media gives citizens direct access to the public sphere, in the form of open forums, talk shows, live phone calling programs, studio debates about public affairs etc.
The representative function of journalism is today enhanced by the availability of fast, interactive technologies such as e-mail, text messaging, blogging and many more. All of which provide new ways for citizens to communicate with politicians and participate in public debate. These technologies fuel the democracy to become more developed.
Media itself wants to become free therefore it always supports the democracy. On the other hand the government also needs to communicate with people. It is only possible when there is a well functioning democracy. If we look back to the history of Nepal then we find press took growth after the introduction of democracy in 1951. before it Gorkhapatra was the only medium for government to reach peoples. But later when King Mahendra took the power and declared Panchayat system the right to press freedom was violated and private sectors were restricted. In 1990 after the restoration of democracy Press got flourished and today also it is believed that it was press which took the positive change and growth. Similarly during Janaandolan-2 King Gyanendra took power and attacked Nepali press. Lots of foreign news channels were banned to broadcast in Nepal. News papers were not allowed to publish against the government and F.M. radios were not allowed to broadcast news. After Janaandolan-2 again Nepali media got its freedom and it was possible only because of democracy. If we look at the media of Myanmar then we can find less freedom for press and press working as the mouthpiece of government. It proves that democracy and journalism are both interdependent. Neither journalism nor democracy can be imagined separately.