Look at the headlines and try to explain what the story behind them might have been and comment on it.
The photo shows press photographers trying to get a shot of Princess Diana.
1. The press keep taking pictures and writing articles about the private lives of members of the Royal family, and the Royal family is complaining about it.
2. The star of soap committed suicide. There were stories in the popular press about his private life and his girlfriend thinks that’s why he killed himself.
3. What do you think the teenager saw on TV? What did he do? Do you think TV was to blame?
3. A teenager saw some violent films on TV, and then went out and started killing people, probably using the same methods as those he saw on TV.
4. A TV play contained a love scene. They decided to cut this scene out.
5. Someone has made a documentary about the secret service,. The government has banned it because it reveals thing they don’t want people to know.
6. A newspaper is investigating toxic waste dumps. The government probably claims they don’t exist, and the newspaper has proved that they do.
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS (a dialogue)
1. Who are talking in the dialogue? (George and Mary)
2. What are they talking about? (about freedom of the press)
3. Does George consider freedom of the press to be very important?
(Yes, because thanks to it people can know what is really going on in their country)
4. Is he against censorship? (Yes, he is)
5. Do the newspapers tell the truth about what is happening?
6. Can Journalists influence the readers’ political opinion?
(they influence the way people see the world and shape their views)
7. Are the journalists given too much freedom in some countries?
(They publish articles about the private lives of famous people and print photos that are sometimes very offensive)
8. Do we need the restrictions of the freedom of the press?
(Freedom of the press should be sustained but the laws protecting people’s privacy should be tightened)
9. How can we stop paparazzi from spying on famous people’s private lives?
Press is called the fourth branch of power, and it is not less important than the other three. But it is the power which can cause good or bad.
Of course, mass media help people keep informed about what ‘is happening in the world. Newspapers and political talk shows usually have serious discussions on home and foreign affairs and teach people to understand how the world develops. Tabloids have articles about fashion and stars of cinema and television, which are interesting to the young to learn how to find their style and way in life. Journalistic investigations help the society to learn about the things politicians would like to keep in the shadow. That’s why newspapers, television and radio are useful for a democratic society.
Nonetheless there are publications which don’t follow the rules of the democratic press, These brainwashing journalists write false materials to form a wrong public opinion. They try to make people think bad of good people and projects. This black PR companies are especially popular during the pre-election period. Some writers use unchecked materials, some are fooled, but the result is that people get the wrong information .publishers, when they want to raise their ratings and get more money, they use intolerable means such as pirate materials, intime photos and lots of ads.
So the press can be a tool of democracy and the tool of tyranny. It depends mostly on the people who make it.