Saturday, September 10, 2011

Why Civil Society Should Engage the Media

The media can set the agenda, raise awareness on an issue and is used by the public to know complex issues.  This piece will try to explain why civil society (CS) should involve the media in the light of the aforementioned media functions.

Firstly, since the media have the power to set the agenda for the populace, the CS can take advantage and use the media to champion their issues.

CSs are usually not popular with some governments or sectors. They can be arrested or harmed. If the media is in good relations with the activists, it can provide some security as governments fear bad publicity reaching donors, UN and regional partners.

It is cheaper for CS to deliver content to the public as news than via advertising. Adverts are easily ignored while news items are believed to a larger extent.  Only a good relationship between CS and media will see CS campaigns being reported as news.

Some research indicates that the populace relies on the media to understand complex issues, the CS stands to gain if they use the media to explain issues and raise awareness to the public which is already looking up to the media.

Finally, Media sometimes promotes ills like genocide, violence, adultery and sustaining hegemony to name but a few. It would thus be very crucial that CS, which is usually fighting these ills, engages the very media to curb them.  

CS, it can be concluded then, should engage the media as intensively as possible. (250)

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