Media in Landscape in PH

The Press as the “Fourth Pillar of Democracy”

Democracy studies have identified the free press in its earliest forms as essential to a society of free and sovereign citizens. The publication of news creates a public forum that enables citizens to exchange views, to debate and argue.

These two terms are important to appreciate how democracy works.

Journalism scholar, James Carey, traced the evolution of the press back to the public houses which served as gathering places for discussions in America’s colonial period. Participants sometimes wrote what they had to say, recording the flow of the exchange in log books. Soon these notes, as well as sermons and notices for goods for sale, were published in more permanent form. “Consequently, journalism – reflected speech – was the ongoing flow of conversation, not in the halls of the legislature but in the public houses.” (Carey, 1993)

The news media should focus their efforts on the conduct of government even as it stays in touch with the people whose news must also be covered. What is happening to individuals, to communities will constitute certain patterns that reveal problems that must be addressed. Checking the pulse of the people and and reflecting this in the news is part of the role of the press.

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