The development of the modern society is characterized by the growing impact of media that affect practically all spheres of life. In fact, nowadays it is practically impossible to imagine human life deprived of media which seem to be everywhere. To a significant extent, this is the result of the increased role of information in the modern society since people need to be constantly informed and media turn to be an excellent tool that fulfills this task. At the same time, it is necessary to point out that media possess a great power which is not always used in the interests of masses of people. To put it more precisely, the growing impact of media threatens to the advancement of interests of those who control media and deprivation of interests of those who actually consume information as the main product delivered by media.
In fact, on analyzing the current situation, it should be said that nowadays it is possible to estimate that media have become the major means of promotion of ideas, beliefs, and media can shape the public opinion at large, as well as influence each individual in particular. Many specialists argue that the modern media are so powerful that the practically shape human identity and often people perceive information delivered by media unconsciously.
In this respect, it is worthy of mention that an ordinary individual is under a permanent attack’ of media. People constantly receive some information from different media at any time of day and night, at any place in the world.
Obviously, nowadays, media are really spread worldwide and it is practically impossible to avoid their influence.
What is even more important, the modern mass media are using more and more sophisticated tools to get access to the perception of people. To a significant extent, such a wide spread of media is determined by the development of IT and communications which provide new opportunities to deliver more information to consumers at any moment and practically in any part of the world. For instance, even a coupe of decades ago it was hardly possible to imaging that mobile phones will become such an efficient tool of communication and spread of information, while Internet has reached a really great results and may be viewed as one of the most powerful media of the modern world.
Naturally, people can hardly avoid the impact of media but, the logical question arises whether media really serve to the interests of people or probably, media advances the interests of a limited group of people. At the present moment there are supporters of totally different points of view. On the one hand, there are those who sincerely believe that media serve to the interest of the mass audience. They state on the ground that, in the modern epoch, it is vitally important that a possibly larger amount of people had access to the sources of information and to information itself and, in such a situation, media may be an excellent tool that can be really effective in delivering information to the mass audience. Consequently, people get new opportunities to receive more information they need in their work, education, etc. and, thus, they naturally benefit from the wide spread of media and their presence practically everywhere.
Furthermore, the supporters of the idea that media serve to the interests of people underline that by means of media people receive an excellent opportunity to control governments, political and economic elite at large. Basically, it is believed that media is a constituent part of any democratic society where civil institutions are well developed and work effectively. In such a situation, it is true that media delivering all information to the mass audience make politicians, for instance, more responsible for their actions since they are controlled by society which can learn practically all details of their work and, even personal life, form media.
Also it is possible to state that media serve to the interests of people as a tool of communication. For instance, Internet, being quite a powerful media, may be not only a source of information, but it also provides a lot of opportunities for people to share their knowledge, express their opinion, promote their beliefs, etc., i.e. simply communicate with other people via Internet.
However, the opponents of such an optimistic view on media are getting to be more and more numerous. In fact, nowadays, there are a lot of specialists who are really convinced that media do not really serve to the interests of people, at least, to the interests of the vast majority of society. Instead, media are viewed as a powerful tool that is in hands of a limited group of people, a kind of elite, which is in a privileged position and which can use media in their own interests. Obviously, the critics of the media have their own arguments revealing the limitedness and negative effects of media. To put it more precisely, it is not a secret that many media are not controllable by public.
In fact, there are few of them who could be really named public in a larger sense, i.e. media that serve to the interests of public solely.
As a rule, modern media are great enterprises which owners attempt not only to earn some money, but, what is more, protect their own interests and use media as a means of propaganda. In this respect, the example of totalitarian states is particularly eloquent since in such states as North Korea media are under a total control of a state. Consequently, people cannot receive an objective and truthful information, instead, they are bombarded with information that targets at the protection of the interests of the state, i.e. the group of people who has a political power in the country, while the mass audience simply consume the information they are delivered without an opportunity to get acquainted with an alternative point of view.
However, the situation in well-developed democratic countries is not much better. It is often argued that media are under control of a limited group of people who basically represent either political or economic elite of a country. As a result, it is these limited groups of people who can finance and who basically control media. Naturally, they attempt to protect their own corporative interests by means of media and the seeming diversity of media rather indicates at the presence of large number of different groups of interests than at the real pluralism of opinion and struggle for the public interests. For instance, it is not a secret that such media as The Wall Street Journal can have a profound impact on the situation in American markets and the opinion of its journalists and experts is extremely important but, if one admits that this magazine is used by some people, it become a powerful tool of advancing the interests of those who control the media.
In such a way, the public can just react on the information it receives from media and its control over media even in the most developed countries is only partial, while, as a rule, those who have a real influence on and control over media are basically focused on the advancement of their own interests. Naturally, in such a situation, the public only becomes a tool that may be used in the interests of certain political or economic interest groups by means of media that currently control or influence practically all spheres of human life.