Functional democracy and mass media: a critique

Stanley Naribo Opuamie-Ngoa


This paper comprises two parts. The first part defines democracy and attempts an examination of the role of the media in a functional democracy. In an attempt to explain issues in the media and public opinion within the realm of democracy, the paper explores etymological origins of media, arguing that what the media ought to be differs from what is obtainable.
Part two examines the media’s role in various African countries when they were under colonial rule and the continent’s push for self-rule, observing that post-colonial Africa witnessed a bifurcated partisan media.
The paper, with specific reference to the role of the media in present day South Africa and Nigeria, concludes that, for the proper role of promoting a healthy culture of democracy in society, today’s news media needs to reflect society’s concerns and the media’s interest in democratic equity.

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