Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Group blog: The media is corrupting our society. Do you agree?

Media has become a ubiquitous in our modern life whereby it has gradually turned into one of the basic needs of human beings today. However, there is a bitter debate in our society regarding the issue whether the mass media is corrupting our society or not.What is defining as media is corrupting our society? It simply means the media today is destroying our society’s moral. Actually, media is not corrupting our society.

Firstly, media is very important is the world development. Research shown that media is one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways to promote international development and to ensure access to news and information for people in the developing world. Further, some of the most difficult global issues of our time—including national, ethnic and religious conflicts, terrorism and pandemics—can be resolved only when the flow of information is facilitated.

When those who have been marginalized have a voice, and individuals can access accurate sources of news and information, the effect is immediate. In times of stress and crisis, people respond more effectively when they have access to reliable channels of information.

For example, through a radio program called “She Speaks, She Listens,” produced by Internews, refugee women from Darfur discuss such taboo topics as child marriage, reproductive health and gender-based violence—often for the first time. Doctors without Borders credit this program with a marked increase in the number of refugee women coming to their clinics for prenatal counseling and childbirth.

As a result, health workers are seeing fewer complications in mothers and babies, improving the overall health of the refugee population.

As respond to most of the people’s argument regarding the violent issue, research shows that violent media is actually good if we didn’t misuse it. Fear, greed, power-hunger, rage: these are aspects of our selves that we try not to experience in our lives but often want, even need, to experience vicariously through stories of others," writes Melanie Moore, Ph.D., a psychologist who works with urban teens. "Children need violent entertainment in order to explore the inescapable feelings that they've been taught to deny, and to reintegrate those feelings into a more whole, more complex, more resilient selfhood."

I'm not going to argue that violent entertainment is harmless. I think it has helped inspire some people to real-life violence. I am going to argue that it's helped hundreds of people for every one it's hurt, and that it can help far more if we learn to use it well. I am going to argue that our fear of "youth violence" isn't well-founded on reality, and that the fear can do more harm than the reality. We act as though our highest priority is to prevent our children from growing up into murderous thugs -- but modern kids are far more likely to grow up too passive, too distrustful of them, too easily manipulated.

Music, and other media, can serve as a way to channel anger and process intense emotions and experiences. What I do like about the music and sex study mentioned above is that it includes actual quotes from teens, allowing them to voice their own critiques of how music affects them. Still, as we all know, what people say they do isn't always the same as what they actually do.

What the teens think is happening to them is probably influenced by what people tell them. If parents and other authority figures consistently disapprove of their music, that too could become a factor in what effect the music has. If authority figures respond with a healthier, more nurturing attitude, with a goal of fostering creativity and introspection, the results could be very different.

Hence, it is true that the media is not corrupting our world if you know how to use it wisely.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The problem with modern media is they do not have a sense of social justice. Do you agree?

Let me being with the definitions of the key words of the statement. Social justice refers to the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society and modern media here refers largely to the internet. I agree with the statement that the problem with modern media is they do not have a sense of social justice.

The internet is now an efficient tool for the release of information. Unfortunately, there have been cases of which wrong information has been disseminated and wronging the innocent party or the case of information being exaggerated. One example is the incident of ‘CNN debunks false report about Obama’. Insight Magazine, owned by the same company as The Washington Times, reported on its web in January that associates of Sen. Hilary Rodham Clinton, D-New York had unearthed information the Illinois Democrat and likely presidential candidate attended a Muslim religious school known for teaching the most fundamentalist form of Islam. When CNN reporter visited the Indonesian school in question, there was no radicalism to be seen.


Even idol wannabes got caught in this terrible mess and became a victim of the internet. Sanjaya, American Idol Season 6 contestant was under the limelight, perhaps, for the wrong reason. Concerns were being raised about how this skinny teenager with the thin voice and lavish smile become an ‘American Idol’ favourite? Not just hanging on week after week, but with enough juice to maybe win the whole thing, the brass ring, the jackpot, the dream? Celebrities are already clinging on to their dear precious reputation, but now even celebrities-to be are experiencing it way before they are star. So is the internet injustice to make them suffer this early?


The last example is about an inaccurate report which sparks fears that China plans to create a set of Chinese-language domain names as part of a bid to split China off from the internet. However, no major changes are planned for how China administers the internet. In a similar incident, Chinese search engine was exaggerating its search power by providing false search results to users by 10-30 times of the actual figures.


Therefore we can see that modern media do not have a sense of social justice as proper information has not been disseminated to the general public. We must thus be aware of the information we obtained from the media and do not quote them blindly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The media is corrupting our society. Do you agree?

Firstly, I would like to define the key words of the statement. The media would refer to newspapers and broadcasting as conveying information to the public. In this case, the media here would refer to the traditional media, newspapers, radio, etc. and new age media, mainly the internet. Corrupting would mean to be immoral and wicked. Lastly, our society means an organized community, consisting of you and me.

I agree that the media is corrupting our society. They achieve this by screening of violent movies on television, for example. While Hollywood denies that violence on the screen makes society more violent -- the facts indicate just the opposite! Researcher James Hamilton notes that ‘large literatures exist on the impact of television violence on society. The laboratory evidence firmly establishes that violence on television causes children to be more aggressive as they learn scripts of behaviour from television and this lead them to be violent in later life’. More than 1,000 studies have established links between television violence and behaviour that emerges later in adulthood. When entertainment industry leaders deny that violent entertainment spawns violent behaviour, it is like tobacco company executives denying that smoking causes, they are simply ignorant.

The story of sex on the screen is similar. While Hollywood claims that only religious fanatics object to sex on television and that it merely gives society what it wants, studies show that more than 70 percent of Americans feel that there is too much sex and vulgarity on television. While writes and produces suggest that their films and programmes only reflect society, they ignore the fact that they are profoundly influencing the values of the society.

Therefore, we must identify the cause of such corruption happening to our society. One reason is the personal agendas of writers and producers who desire to reshape society along the lines of their preference. Surveys have indicate that 90 percent of Hollywood executives favour abortion, more than half feel that adultery is not wrong and almost 75 percent see nothing wrong with homosexuality. Nearly 45 percent of this group claims no religious affiliation, and 93 percent seldom or never attend church. Entertainment created by such individuals is often in direct conflict with Judeo-Christian values that have anchored western societies for centuries. Film critic Michael Medved explains that this small group of liberal-minded social revolutionaries has turned the Hollywood dream factory into a ‘poison factory’ that attacks religion, assaults the legitimacy of the family, promotes sexual perversions and glorifies ugliness. When we view entertainment, we enter a world created by people whose values are often totally at odds with our own and we should be alert!

We cannot deny the fact that the media is corrupting our society. We can, however, play a part in reducing the corruption by choosing our medium of entertainment wisely.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting. Should we lock up all of the manics?

On 16th April, the world sank into a state of agony for the 32 lives lost under the gunshot of Cho Seung Hui. A couple of days later, ‘a macabre message from the grave from the gunman responsible for the Virginia Tech University surfaced. In it, South Korean gunman Cho, painted himself as a pistol-wielding moralist out to get even- though he does not say with whom. The package, which contained videos, still photographs and a long diatribe, was mailed to the offices of broadcaster NBC.’

There were already ‘warnings sign of Cho’s deranged state of mind in 2005. He was accused of stalking two women and taken to a mental facility for treatment. Although a judge declared Cho a danger to himself and others, he was simply told to seek treatment and was given medication for depression. He was then released to return to the campus. From this, we could see that the Cho had emotional problems all the while and had been referred to a psychiatrist. ‘

Why, at then, had the judge decided to release him despite knowing he is a ticking time bomb? If he had kept Cho under observation of a professional psychiatrist for a longer period, perhaps such tragedy could be prevented.

Therefore, we must look into the issue of whether ‘we should lock up all of the maniacs?’

A manic here refers to a person with violent madness and I define locking up as admitting him or her into metal institutions because locking up sounds a little harsh. With respect to this question, my stand would be a no. The factor determining whether they are being ‘locked up’ is on a case by case basis.

If the patient’s condition has been proven by a professional psychiatrist as stable and he or she will not bring harm to people to the society, then this patient is exempted from the fate of being locked up. However, a patient like Cho will certainly and definitely be ‘locked up’. Another foolish mistake, like the one made by the judge, must not be repeated as it can only create more havoc and chaos to the society. This is because the price to pay will be too much, way too much. As Cho said in his final video message, ‘You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today but you decided to spill my blood.’

As much as possible, I feel that one must consider wisely before executing this cruel action of admitting the patient into a mental institution. After all, I’m certain one detests being admitted in a mental institution as it’s equivalent to being locked up in an emotional jail. Everyone will look at you with a different eye, avoiding you when you eventually leaves the institution and enters the community.

On lighter note, perhaps it’s time to we start to watch out for the people around us? If they are down, try to shower them with our love before they sink into depression and cause harm to themselves?
Let them know that we care.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Nowadays, the mass media do not report the news; they make the news. Discuss this with references to recent events.

Nowadays, the mass media do not report the news; they make the news. Discuss this with references to recent events.

Firstly, we must think about what is considered as recent events. My definition would be, something that have happened or established in a time shortly before the present, i.e. about a year from now. Also, defines mass media as newspapers, motion pictures, radio, television, magazines and internet, all of which have the technical capacity to deliver information to millions of people. With response to the statement, I agree that the mass media do not report the news but make the news instead. However, we must also consider why such phenomenon is on the rise.

Previously, the role of mass media has been thought to convey information to the general public through mediums like, newspapers or new broadcasting. Unfortunately, this pure and simple task seemed to be manipulated overtime. The main idea of bringing the news to you and I doesn’t matter anymore, but rather, if people will come to read the news so as to boost the media’s ratings.

One example would be that of a Taiwan television station (TVBS) reporter helping an armed gangster to shoot a video threat to his rival. ‘Eager to score an exclusive, TVBS reporter Shih Cheng-kang, who eventually confessed, and his supervisor had lied about the video clip being delivered anonymously. The clip, first aired on 26 March, showed gangster, Chou Cheng-bao, sitting behind a table laden with rifles, brandishing a pistol and threatening his former gang leader: “The next time I bump into you, I’ll kill you.”’

Even though Shih was fired at the end of the saga, the issue of the mass media making news was highlighted once again. Sometimes, one wonder, do mass media have to resort to fabricate news just to woo more readers and viewers? Isn’t mere reporting sufficient to entice the public?

Earlier this year, 17 February, the notorious pop star Britney Spears surprised her fans when she appeared in a tattoo parlour with her head shaved bald, some new haircut indeed. This sparked off a series of paparazzi frenzy, all fighting to get hold of her latest news even weeks after her audacious act of going bald.

Evidently, this enormous coverage showed the mass media grabbing hold of the golden opportunity to make as much profits as possible relying on readers’ interest in celebrities. Instead of just reporting Britney’s intriguing haircut, the mass media crossed the line and went on to examine her life, how ruined her marriage with Kevin Federline is and the frequency of her checking into rehabilitation centre. This thus shows that the mass media not only reports the news but also make the news.


A week ago, ‘the ghastly events at Virginia Tech University in United States’ took the world aback. ‘Police has identified Cho Seung-hui, a legal U.S. resident, as the shooter and said he may have acted alone in killing 32 people before pointing the gun at himself on Monday, 18th April.’

Even though the killer has been recognised, the innocent Wayne Chiang wishes to clear his name. That he ‘—the subject of fevered speculation on the internet—is not the killer.’
'Rumours that Chiang 23, was the mass murderer swept across the world after links to his gun-obsessed blogs were posted on social networking website Facebook and similar sites. More than 180,000 people visited his sites, with many noting the similarities between him and the man described in accounts of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Some went as far as jumping to a conclusion, “Early 20s, Asian man, vetch student. Fits the bill,” wrote one commenter on one of Chiang’s blogs. Another simply wrote: “Why why why why why?”

From here, we can see that even internet has the power to bring an innocent individual into the limelight. Reading too much between the lines can be a fatal mistake at times, having similar straits doesn’t necessarily prove Chiang as the killer. Could this news be highlighted just to arouse the readers’ interest of the massacre?

However, one must consider, why is this phenomenon of the mass media making the news on the rise?

During a discussion between the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) and several US journalists, concerns like the lack of public interests in news were raised. One possible reason could be the lack of international news coverage in commercial news media. If the public could pay more attention to global issues, then perhaps such cases of media manipulation could not have emerged. So from today, why not spare a little more of your precious time to read international news? Why not go to ‘World’ section before jumping straight to the ‘Life!’ section? In the end, this little action of yours could save the agony reporters have to go through just to squeeze out juicy and intriguing news.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

1. “YouTube has no ethics, it's been created for the sole purpose of entertainment and money.” Do you agree?

To start off, I define having ethnics as having moral principle, so by suggesting that YouTube has no ethnics, my stand would be an absolute no.

YouTube was founded in 2005, by Steven Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. Its purpose was to enable individuals worldwide to broadcast themselves. True enough, it lived up to its name and is now one of the fastest-growing Web sites in the history of the Internet. Being ranked among the top-five-most-popular Web sites in the world, the popularity YouTube earns comes with a price.

It began with ‘simple and pure’ videos, with users uploading videos about their hilarious bloopers. However, as time passes, these users seem to be manipulating this privilege they were given and start to upload video with controversial contents. One recent example would be that of a 44-second film showing graffiti over Thailand’s king's face. Somehow I wonder, have these users thought wisely before broadcasting their videos to the entire universe? Have they thought about the consequences after revealing a video with such disputable images? Therefore, to say YouTube has no ethnics is not true as to come to such a conclusion; one must consider the conduct of YouTube users. Sadly, they have violated their given rights and have brought bad name to YouTube’s reputation. To put it bluntly, they were reckless in their actions. If they have stopped and think twice before clicking the ‘publish’ button, then perhaps, the current perception of YouTube will not be so harsh.

Secondly, by saying the sole purpose of creating YouTube is for entertainment and money, this statement seems to be inevitably true. It is now an alternative source for entertainment for online users. In fact, it is like an online television now! As for money, the usual saying goes, ‘Money make the world go around’ so I suppose in the world of technology, the saying still applies. Except, one must note that YouTube is not a money making company but one which is paid because of the certain advertisements posted by its users. They earned money through channels like these.

Therefore, I conclude that YouTube is neither an unethical nor profitable company, but one which has been created to bring entertainment to online users like you and me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

‘The teenage years are the best years of one’s life.’ Would you agree to this view? (CAMBRIDGE NOV 1994)

Firstly, let me define the term teenage years. It is when the teen is of years of age from 13 to 18. As a teenager myself, I would agree to this view that the teenage years are the best years of one’s life, despite the challenges one may face during this period.

The teenage are the best years of one’s life as we spend more than 12 hours with our beloved friends each day. We cry and laugh together, skip lessons together (not applicable for some), complete homework together and even visit the toilet together (applies more to girls). In fact, we do anything under the sun as in unison! I’m certain that our teenage years would be duller and uneventful without our friends. Without a doubt, they are always by our side, as a listening ear, a crying shoulder, or even our financial support (when we are short on cash). They will always be number two after our family.

However, at a certain phase of this teenage years, some may find themselves in an identity crisis. Their personalities could be said to be ‘missing’ and they end up jumping onto the bandwagon unknowingly. For the luckier ones, the bandwagon will be taking them to a path of brighter future. But for the unluckier ones, the bandwagon will be sending them to commit sins like, smoke, rob, or kill. In Singapore, there are growing popularity trend of ‘emo’, emotional for short. Teenagers find themselves in a sad mood most of the time, brooding over unnecessary issues. Feeling frustrated, they release their emotions by hurting themselves, usually in the form of cutting their wrists. This is a worrying sign as parents are often oblivious about this.

Thankfully, our friends will be there to observe such unusual behavioral signs and will quickly bring their ‘derailed’ friends back to the ‘right’ route. With our friends as our guardian angels, we are not afraid to be misled. Therefore, the teenage years are the best years of one’s life as it will be filled with many unforgotten memories we shared with our friends. Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant ones, they will never be thrown away. (361)