Almost everyone gets his or her information about world, national, and local affairs from the mass media. This fact gives both print and electronic media important functions that include influencing public opinion, determining the political agenda, providing a link between the government and the people, affecting socialization, Entertainment, Educating the masses, and Mobilization as well. *Public opinion: The mass media not only report the results of public opinion surveys conducted by outside organizations but also increasingly incorporate their own polls into their news coverage.
More important, newspapers and television help shape public opinion as well. Research has shown that the positions people take on critical issues are influenced by the media, especially when the media air divergent views and provide in-depth analysis. *Political agenda: The term political agenda is broader in scope than the term public opinion, and it refers to the issues people think are the most important and that government needs to address. A person’s perception of such matters as crime, civil rights, the economy, immigration, and welfare are affected by the manner and extent of media coverage.
Studies indicate that a correlation exists between the significance people assign a problem and the frequency and amount of space or time newspapers, magazines, and television give to it. *Link between the government & the people: The mass media is the vehicle through which the government informs, explains, and tries to win support for its programs and policies. For example president Franklin Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” used radio in this manner. *Socialization:
The mass media, most significantly through its news, reporting, and analysis, affects what and how we learn about politics and our own political views. Along with family, schools, and religious organizations, television also becomes part of the process by which people learn society’s values and come to understand what society expects from them. In this regard, the impact comes primarily from entertainment programming. Some people believe that people, especially children, imitate behavior observed in media communications.
They are, therefore, concerned about the quantity of sex and violence on TV. This theory of behavior may be naive, and certainly it lacks consistent or weighty scientific evidence. *Surveiance of the environment: This is the collection and distribution of information within and outside a particular environment. The information flow is necessary for unity and coherence if we live in the society of collectivity *Transmission of social heritage: By communicating information through the mass media we are transmitting social and cultural values, which aim at sustaining the society. Educating the masses: Education on the policies of governments and on the rights and responsibilities could be carried out through the mass media. *Entertainment function: The mass media also entertain the public by providing emotional relaxation, intrinsic and cultural enjoyment (i. e. provision of momentary escape from problems) and killing boredom. *Mobilization function: This function of the mass media is very important to developing communities everywhere. It seeks to bring the people together and helps to advance national development.