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What Is the Relationship between the Media and Economic Development?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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The main relationship between media and economic development lies in the function of the media as a source for the dissemination of information regarding political reforms and policies aimed at economic development. In this sense, the media serves as a liaison between the policy makers and the citizens, or as a conduit for the education of the people regarding new laws and their roles in nation building. This link between the media and economic development is affected by certain factors, which include aspects like the level of autonomy in the media, the sophistication of the media mechanism in the region, and the level of education for the general populace.

In order to achieve economic development, there has to be a concerted level of coordination between the government and the citizens, rather than one of conflict arising from misunderstanding. This process is enhanced when the media is sophisticated in terms of the utilization of modern communication channels and equipment. A link between the media and economic development is also seen when a country with little to no economic development suffers in terms of a primitive mass media mechanism. Any country with limited resources will not have the necessary finances to develop its mass media. Whenever the mass media is undeveloped there is a lack information flow from the government to the citizens, making it hard to educate the population on the specifics of necessary economic reforms.

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Another form of relationship between the media and economic development is the fact that autonomy, or media independence, plays a role in the economic development of a country. This role can be seen in the ability of such independent media outlets to effectively investigate and report on issues like government and corporate corruption. Such freedom would be limited in countries or instances in which the media is owned or solely funded by the state or government. In these cases, the media becomes a tool for the spreading of government propaganda rather than for the relatively objective reporting of issues that may affect the economic development of a country. A situation that allows the media to serve as a figurative watchdog over the manner in which a government is running a country can help set a country on the road to the attainment of economic development.

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Discuss this Article

turquoise
Post 3

Everyone is talking about large-scale economy and media. But what about local? Local advertisements in media increase sales of local businesses and boost the economy. Why don't we look at it that way?

fBoyle
Post 2

@SarahGen-- The article has talked about this actually. If the media is state-owned (isn't that the case with China), then it's obviously not free media. I guess a free media is not a prerequisite for economic development. But, it is a prerequisite for a peaceful country where all sections of society are represented and content with the government and social, political, economic systems.

If a country has turmoil and conflict, the economy is going to be negatively affected. For example, foreign investors don't invest in countries with conflict. So in that way, media and economic development are connected.

SarahGen
Post 1

I used to think that if a country has economic development, then it would also have a relatively free media. But I don't think so anymore. Let's take China as an example. China grew quite a lot economically between 2010 and 2014. But it's not a democracy and there isn't freedom of speech. I'm sure the same is applicable to media. I'm sure media can't express all opinions freely.

So perhaps, the relationship between media and economic development isn't as strong or close as we think.

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