Media literacy is the ability that one can access, analyse, evaluate as well as create media. The adults and youths can understand better the message sent through the media such as television, internet, books, music, newspapers, radio, and billboards among other channels. The literacy skills are included in educational standards such as social studies, health science and language arts (Macedo, 2007). Media literacy is an effective way in which we can as well apply critical thinking skills to gain more information. Media literacy beliefs on the following aspects;
1. Media have social and political implications
It believes that media convey or pass certain ideological message about the power, values and authority. Sometimes these messages are of unquestioned and unconscious biases, and they can simply influence on what the people believe or thinking. As a result, the media has great influence on forming social and political changes. For example, National TV can easily affect or influence the election of a leader on how she or he representation of world issues, image or how much the person appears in media (Adams & Hamm, 2006).
3. Media have commercial implications
Due to increased competition in the world of business, most of the companies use media as a channel to pass information on their new product so as to increase their profit realization. Therefore, a small number of individuals control what we read, see or hear from the media (Macedo, 2007).
4. Audiences negotiate meaning
Media literacy believes that the meaning of any media product is not producer, but through the collaboration between them and the audience suggesting that different audience can take a different meaning from the same product. Through media literacy audience negotiation, different companies can understand how individuals factors such as gender, race, age and social status affect our media interpretation (Potter, 2011).
5. Each medium has a unique aesthetic form
The theory believes that the content to be passed to the consumers depend on the nature of the medium. This includes technical, storytelling and the target on commercials (Burn & Durran, 2007).
Since the invention of the television in the society, the media has played a great role to every member of the society in terms of their duties and responsibility. With time, the role of television in the society has been changed due to various factors associated with competition and diversity of programs. For example, the television has created a battlefield in the politics by raising the voice of the people to their representatives in the government (Adams & Hamm, 2006). The private broadcasters have switched their focus from programming to much advertising because they mostly depend on funds from adverts. The issues of advert have caused the state of commercialization in the television sector and hence not much focusing on important programs that can educate the society. Due to great competition in the industry, the different television broadcasters have developed variety of new programs with new topics in order to attract more viewers. The state of this competition has lead to global integration hence creating a strong platform for interaction, as well as increase variety of the programs to the viewers (Burn & Durran, 2007).
Although television has an extensive market share in the media, it faces a great threat from the internet services which are growing in the market at a high rate at attracting global scope because of its unlimited information, entertainment and interactivity across the world. Therefore, the different broadcasting houses should catch-up with the new technology in order to increase their sustainability power in the industry through innovations and re-evaluation of classical issues as well as targeting global market share (Potter, 2011).
`Television has also attracted many children than other sources in the industry. Thus, the programs aired should be sensitive by considering the information and entertainment the television offers. The televisions have introduced commercial children’s programs such as action adventure series and animated cartoons to capture the children’s population into the industry (Macedo, 2007).
The theory was developed by Bruce Power and Marshall McLuhan in one of their book The Global Village. In this book, McLuhan and Power explain the theory by use of Tetrad model which is made up of tree elements. Visual space is the first element which refers to the western civilization as based on logical reasons (Adams & Hamm, 2006). The second element is known as the acoustic space and is much Asian and holistic in approach. Finally, there is tetrad itself which collide with the other two opposing theories. The tetrad helps us to see both positive and negative results in the various artifacts.
The theory is mainly used for studies on technology and culture and hence the model is more of an epistemological perspective than other methodological approaches in the global mass media research. However, it is hard to practically verify tetrad theory social science research because it looks to involve much philosophy as a theory of communication (Burn & Durran, 2007).
The theory was developed by George Gerbner. In this theory George asserts that television has highly changed the traditional sources of socialization such as a church, family and school. That is, television has risen to be a common source of socialization and passing of information on the daily situations mainly from entertainment to the rest of the population. The heavier viewers of TV are thought to be cultivating attitudes that may drive the individuals to believe that the world created by the television depicts the real world (Potter, 2011). The theory also suggests that behavior of a prolonged watching of television can lead certain paradigm about violence in the world.
The theory also shows that this cultivation of attitude tends to base the present attitude in the society and that the media the television takes those attitudes and re-present them to their audience in a different packaging (Potter, 2011).
The theory is faced by numerous critics in its approach. For example, the cultivation theory emphasis only on the function of television in the context of culture which may mean that it assumes there is no significant effect on other media. The peoples attitude are not only affect by television but also influenced by other media as well as other people. Cultivation theory focuses on the negative influence of the televisions and ignoring the benefits associated with the social dynamics of the television. For example, when the television viewer faces direct experience of the subject matter, he or she tends to reduce any cultivation effect (Adams & Hamm, 2006).
In order for the media to have a positive effect and benefit, the different broadcasters should be reminded that the broadcasting should not focus on business but enterprise that is connected to accountability and responsibility. In addition, the media cover on information related to social and politics issues which are associated with propaganda. Therefore, the media houses should air reports which are truthful, précised, neutral and reliable.
Adams, D. M., & Hamm, M. (2006). Media and literacy: Learning in the information age – issues, ideas, and teaching strategies. Springfield, Ill: Thomas.
Burn, A., & Durran, J. (2007). Media literacy in schools: Practice, production and progression. London: Paul Chapman Pub.
Macedo, D. (2007). Media literacy: A reader. New York: Lang.
Potter, W. J. (2011). Media literacy. Los Angeles: SAGE.