American Media and the War in the Balkans. A Pakistani Perspective
By Salma Malik
The print media made its debut in the 17th century with Europe, taking the lead in having the first sustained production of newspaper. Soon its potential as a mass communicator was realized. It was used both as an informer as well as a propagator. What was born essentially to disseminate factual and objective information came also to be used to misinform and dis-inform, to control and manipulate news, and to shape and mould views. It emerged as a powerful weapon to influence public opinion and to rule the people through manipulations. In the last century when it came to be reinforced by the electronic media, first by radio and then by satellite-based television channels, the media by itself became an all-influential institution of society-on many occasions more effective than the state. This mighty and all-pervasive power of the media was successfully used, in conflict situations, by vested interests to serve their purpose, benevolent or malevolent. Fortunately, for both the media and the public, the technological advances during the mid 90's and the increasing globalization of news reporting mean that the news reports can now be transmitted live to a raft of international news networks. In this new environment the control of media product is realistically not feasible.
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