Channel 4 Learning

Who rules //

The Media

Struggle for power?

Television, radio, the internet, newspapers and magazines, adverts and music. What have the media got to do with politics? You'd be surprised. The media probably have more influence and control over our lives than anything else. They can make a government just as quickly as they can break one.

Think about it. Every day we listen to the radio, watch TV, pick up a newspaper or magazine and surf the internet. We are swamped with information. Some of it's political, some of it – but not much of it – is about politics, and politics is influenced by the media. We have a free press in the UK. Does this mean the press are free to print what they please? What might be the consequences of a completely free press?

Who's in control?

There are regulations on the media, set by the government, to prevent certain kinds of information seeping out. The media also have some influence over the government. They act as the eyes and ears of the people; they go where most people can't go. If the government puts a foot wrong or is not being entirely truthful, the media will soon let the country know.

Information frenzy

Customers look at a bank of television screens

Customers look at a bank of television screens

In the past, access to information from around the country and the world was mainly through newspapers and the radio. Developments in technology mean that we can now access up–to–date information at the click of a mouse.

You can probably guess that the most popular form of media is TV. It doesn't take much effort to watch it and almost every household in the UK has at least one set. This means that there is a valuable box in everyone's front room that governments can use to convey certain messages, even if you're not aware of it.