YOUTH VOICE: The Power of the Media in Politics

Posted on July 19, 2010 by


Our politicians tell us time and time again that they are elected to either State or Commonwealth Parliament use their mandate to act in the interests of the wider community. However, do the Australian people believe in the noble purpose of our politicians?

In a society consumed by the power of capitalism, economic rationalisation and other technological factors have led people to become viewed increasingly as commodities. Liberal democratic ideals embodied in Australian federation have largely been lost in the pages of time. What appears evident in a modern context, as a citizen, is that individuals are being denied freedom of speech, that privilege being primarily deprived through the continually growing media empire.

The media, which is sometimes commonly referred to by professionals and intellectuals as the “fourth estate” is a communication source relied on by the Australian people to keep informed of current political activity. Being informed of the events which take place outside the immediate realm of private worlds is a crucial necessity if voters are to make an informed choice when they enter the ballot box at an election, particularly at the federal election to be held on August 21. However, with the raised political focus of the media on governmental and coalition activity at this particular time, to what extent does the media truly provide fair and just information to citizens? Has the media provided politics with avenues to gain the attention of a wider audience or has it manipulated politics for the purposes of profiteering through entertainment? I fear that the answer may be the latter.

The influence of the media over politics stifled my subconscious as I watched he movie premier Hawke on Channel Ten (18 July 2010). No doubt Channel Ten added credibility to the film through the inclusion of a live interview with former Prime Minister Bob Hawke to discuss the events portrayed. However, through these film productions and expensive campaigns, is the media devaluing politics for a younger generation? As society recognises the development and expansion of social networking particularly through the engine of Facebook, has technology forced the youth to remain reserved in freedom of expression and intervening in decisions that affect their own and their country’s future?

Overall, the theme that needs to be discussed in relation to politics is in concern with politicians either vesting an interest in their nation or again, acting on ambition. Just as the Channel Ten production prominently featured the ambitious streak that consumed Paul Keating on his rise to becoming Prime Minister, to what purpose can it be ascertained that the media is not solely used for profit and to assist politicians with their aspirations to rise to the top? At the next election, I would like to urge all readers of this article to think carefully about who they see as a caring and passionate candidate to hold the office of Prime Minister. Do not be fooled by the economic interests clearly held by the media in commenting on political affairs, undertake your own research through scholarly articles and primary sources, for then you can honour those ancestors who fought and achieved a voice for the people.

Martin Dickens is a first year Bachelor of Arts student at La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga Campus. Having lived in the local region all of his life, Martin is thoroughly interested in Australian Politics and is a member of the Young Liberal Movement. He was formerly the 2009 College Captain of Trinity Anglican College Albury and has been involved in numerous community activities, as well as acting as a United Nations Youth Delegate for Regional Youth Summits.

The views in this story are those of the author and not necessarily those of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga.