Media and Regulation
In mass communications, media are basically the tools or resources used to transmit and store data or information. The word generally refers to diverse components of this vast mass media communications field, including broadcast, print media, television, radio, publishing, visual arts, cinema, advertising, and other. Media also refers to the modes of distribution used by various mass media for the dissemination of information. Mass media distribution includes such methods as motion pictures, books, periodicals, periodical emails, Web sites, recordings, and broadcasts. These various modes of distribution make up the bulk of mass communications medium.
The distribution of media is very broad, but most of it is geared towards the creation and the marketing of information. The distribution is so wide because there is such a great variety of mass media and a great number of mediums have emerged due to this vast proliferation of mass communications. There are different ways that digital media and print media differ from one another. Digital media involves transmissions of information in the format of bits and bytes, while print media involves direct reproduction of printed material, usually in the form of a physical piece of paper.
In mass communications, electronic media refer to recorded media. This means that unlike classical or the conventional print media which uses paper as its medium, electronic media makes use of electronic machines to reproduce sound, images, text, video, and other forms of content. Digital media is usually stored on hard disks, compact disks, or other such media devices. Electronic media may also refer to Internet information, computer software, and other stored information. There is also hybrid digital media that combines aspects of both digital and traditional mass media.
The term ‘networked society’ refers to the phenomenon where in which we find that people who communicate with one another through electronic media also tend to share personal characteristics, interests, and so forth. For instance, in a university study on the subject of social networks, it was noted that the users of Facebook tend to share identical political beliefs, similar age groups, and even similar religious views. It was found that users of social networks such as Facebook are also characterized by a sense of community and shared values.
The increasing popularity of social networking websites like Facebook has also paved the way for many countries to attempt to regulate online media. In India, the government has been repeatedly questioning the manner in which the social media websites operate, asking service providers to block certain portals from being accessible on the net. On the other hand, various internet service providers in many countries such as India, China, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom have taken steps to develop self-regulatory systems that would be able to address issues regarding objectionable content and messages on the World Wide Web. These regulations were formulated to provide a platform for service providers to act quickly and take appropriate action when they discover contents or messages that may be inappropriate for their services or customers.
Today, media refers to both mass media as well as self-regulatory media. Mass media refers to the printed and broadcast media that we all rely on every day; while the term media refers to the internet, television, radio, and other types of digital media that we use in our everyday lives. The two types of media play significant roles in the society; therefore, regulating them both is an important task that must be done. The growth of the internet has resulted to greater opportunities for communication and information dissemination among people all over the world. Therefore, it is high time for regulatory authorities from various countries to come up with strategies that would be able to address the issues that arise from the use of this powerful medium of communication.