The media, that is all means of disseminating information is an essential means of expression for democratic actors and plays a major role in shaping public opinion. Placing some debates on the front of the stage they can also obscure others. They are therefore subject to ethics, accuracy of information, respect for privacy, general news and verification of sources. The press can be a means of protest, which explains why the first democratic texts devoted their freedom. There is concomitance between the advent of universal suffrage in the nineteenth century and the development of the mass press. During the twentieth century it is no longer the only newspapers but television, cinema and radio that participate in the democratic debate.
Media and modern internet
In the 21st century, the development of the Internet also allows the debate of ideas. New technologies are pushing democratic bodies to change the way they work, bringing political class and citizen’s closer together. The media here complement the traditional vectors of democracy by inventing new forms of information or expression. The media has also democratized in parallel with the progress of democracy. Their access is cheap, easy and fair throughout the territory. Sometimes it holds the belts of transmission between the power and the people. Their pluralism helps the functioning of democracy of which it is an essential condition. Nevertheless, the disappearance of the press of opinion as the penetration of the financial groups in the world of the media is also signs of standardization of the information.
The risk of manipulation
Media financing depends on private capital, which may want to modify information according to their interests or to influence democratic functioning. Financial concentration can also alter their independence. Media pluralism therefore does not always rhyme with plurality of opinions and diversity of information. Similarly polls can influence or even distort electoral behavior.Sensitive to the echoes of the media politicians are accused of shaping their discourse, not according to their convictions but according to the state of opinion or the view of the media. The debate of ideas and the democracy on the ground would then give way to the stranglehold of television on the electoral campaigns.
Conclusion: The importance of the media
The importance of media for an election also raises the problem of equal access between candidates. Politicians depend on the media and the format they impose. The state continues to supervise the media. It must do so democratically to guarantee equal access, pluralism of information, the neutrality of the press while respecting the freedom of opinion etc. This is all the more justified with the Internet which makes it possible to circumvent internal barriers to multiply discussion forums to open new spaces of freedom.