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ls I Docente Responsvel: Adriane Orenha Ottaiano Discente: Octvio Henrique Chames dos Santos So Jos do Rio Preto, 2012 English Essay Talking about the Media Media and Freedom

Media, which is commonly defined as means of communication that reach or influence people widely and has the function of spreading news to the masses, has, as any legitimate and democratic institution of the contemporary world, its strong and weak points. For example, media is, at the same time, the best and the worst source for getting all kinds of information, being the best exactly because it releases any type of news one wants, and the worst because these pieces of information tend to suffer distortion, sensationalism and the partiality of the means of communication that share them with the big public. Freedom, on the other hand, is much harder to define, and that may be due to the fact that it has, in fact, many plausible definitions, which vary from defining it as the simple state of being free or personal liberty to political or national independence and/or exemption from external control, interference or regulation. Also, freedom does not really serve a specific function: people or institutions simply are or are not free, but that, in itself, does not define if they are more or less reliable. With that in mind, anyone who wishes to actually write about the controversial and polemic relations involving media and freedom cannot avoid two important questions: Should the means of communication ever be controlled in some way? And, if the answer to that question if yes, who should control them?

First of all, it is important to say that answering the first question with a short yay or nay (yes or no) answer would be philosophically poor and sociologically inappropriate, for the question demands, in a sense, that one comes from specific points in order to analyze the bigger picture. An adequate beginning would be dividing the topics that the media talks about in three main branches, being them Politics, Celebrities and Justice. Concerning Politics, it is obvious that all kinds of media, be them magazines, television nets, internet blogs, or even ye old newspapers, always have their own political and ideological views. So, it is also obvious that they will give the information, but will privilege the side they agree the most. That, however, though not being the most legitimate course of action a means of communication might take, cannot be defined as wrong either. Fact is that the so-called neutrality that journalists, at least in thesis, need to have, does not really exist in reality, because everybody is vulnerable to influences, be them social, intellectual, moral, economical or philosophical, and, because of that, will never be fully neutral to something. Another fact is that, like it or not, as the philosopher Jean Paul Sartre once said, we are condemned to being free, which means that people do not have the obligation of sticking to just one version of the facts and that, in fact, it is up to them, and not to anybody else or to the system, as the Marxists love to say, to choose if they want to see another version of the facts. From all of that, logic tells that there is not any plausible reason to control or interfere with the media, at least when it comes to political issues When it comes to Celebrities, the line of thinking to be adopted differs little. Even though the question of the right to privacy is still relevant to the discussion, there is not any real proof that those who are celebrities were ever forced to become celebrities. Some people could use Michael Jacksons case, but even that is not sufficient when the fact that his father

only wished to gain money, not fame, is considered. So, in those cases, there is hardly any need to control the media as well. Still, there is one acceptable exception, and it happens when it is proven that the person really did not wish to become a celebrity. Cases like that can be seen in people that, out of their own sense of moral and civil duty, become some kind of hero and have their whole life used as a tool for the media to get more audience and money with. As it is not fair to the person or people in question, it would be up to them only to define whether they wish that kind of exposition or not. However, when one talks about Justice, it definitely is a horse of another color. In that case, there are many examples of how media clearly does not contribute to the welfare of democracy, and that can be seen when, instead of treating someone accused of a barbaric crime as a suspect, it starts treating the defendant as guilty. The problem in that is that the masses, who love to point their fingers to others but never go deeper into the case, start accusing the person as if he or she were already condemned by justice. One such case happened in Brazil some years ago. The couple Alexandre Nardoni and Ana Carolina Jatob was accused of killing Nardonis 5-year-old daughter, Isabela, by throwing her from the window of the sixth floor of Edifcio London, in So Paulo city. Even though the suspicions were not cast upon them ex nihilo (In English: from nowhere; In Portuguese: do nada ), which means that there were strong evidences of them being guilty, the media still had no right to act as if they were already condemned by justice. In fact, if nothing had been proved against the couple, they could charge many newspapers and magazine for moral damage, because these broke one of the pillars of Brazilian justice, which is represented by the Latin quotation In dubia pro reo (All are innocent until the contrary/ the guilt is proven).

That, however, is not unique to Brazil. Legal principles like the forementioned In dubia are something media, from USA to Japan, from Middle East to South Africa, always tends to break purposefully. Even though there is always the option of looking for other sources, things are different in this case because, as opposed to politics, it is not a question of ideology, but of ethics instead. In addition, in politics, it is not the vote cast on someone which will decide the fate of the city, state or nation, but the civil conduct of the citizens, or, as one might rather put it, if the citizens actually will supervise the politicians they elected. Still, in justice, if a whole country pressures a judge to judge someone as guilty, it will not affect the suspects life only, but the lives of his family and friends too. Justice, as opposed to the other pillars of contemporary media, is not a negotiable virtue, exactly because freedom and justice are, at the same time, linked and dependent of each other in democracies and even in dictatorial regimes. From that, it is possible to conclude that, at least in the legal factor, media should suffer external interference in order for it to stop breaking legal principles. Even thus, one question still remains: who should supervise and interfere on it? Its as clear as day that the State is not the answer, and that can be proven when one looks on the world history and see that some of the most cruel regimes, such as Stalins and Maos, tend to censor its oppositions while funding its allied journalists. The big masses, as opposed to what Lenin, Trotsky and some others insist on saying, are not a good alternative either, first because, in most countries, their knowledge about law is shallow or even non-existent, second because, surely, the control would be based on moralism, not on ethics, which could result in the continued censorship of things such as, for instance, soap operas and series, that only serve as entertainment. Considering that, and also considering that it is not plausible to even consider that the most indicated people to supervise media are the owners of big companies, exactly because

they too would try to use their power to hide what they did not want to see or did not want exposed to the masses, the only plausible alternative is law itself. After all, the principles of a Constitution, in most of the situations and if strictly complied, are the safest path to justice in all departments. Additionally, there is nothing that can represent more the sense of justice of a nation than its own Constitution, which should be altered every now and then to avoid grave injustices, be it to the majority, the minorities or even to the media itself. Concluding, it becomes clearer with each new discussion that the relation between Media and Freedom is not always flowers, but has its thorns too. Justice, morality, morals, ethics, privacy, all of that must be considered in the debates about such a thorny issue, and thats why theres always the need to see new views about it. What cannot be done in any circumstance, however, is disobeying justice and ethics in the name of audience, because that can affect a lot of people for the rest of their lives. Still, that is not a sufficient argument for interfering on the media as a whole, but only in that specific legal factor. Fact is: there are more complicating factors in this subject that the dumb and misinformed militant of any cause can wonder.