|PM Raila Odinga addressing the media after he had cast his vote during the 2013 general Elections|
The media construction of reality is not a unilateral process exclusively performed by Television media and political actors that shapes and conditions the citizens.
Political agenda and influences the information of public opinion and various peripheral spaces administered by civil society, that seek to influence from the edges, the institutional definition of reality.
We constantly compare the media version with our subjective individual reality based on accumulated knowledge, interpersonal interactions and past experiences. Therefore, we are consumers of meanings, chiefly those circulated by media organizations on which a greater or lesser extent we cognitively depend but, at the same time, we develop a function of producing social meaning, the final result of which is the configuration of our world view.
Back to the basics despite a now evolving media, the press can play the role of:
Disseminating information and analysis to the public and make penetrating criticisms of each side, without implicating the mediator in value judgement that may change the relationship with the negotiating parties.
Informing the public about what is at stake, the media can dramatically increase the pressure on both sides to reach a resolution quickly.
Has the advantage of talking to both sides without affecting the process (outside negotiations)?
The media play an important role in amplifying information and communicating it to the public at large and that in turn can contribute to judging both sides in a conflict to accept a compromise solution.
In deeply divided societies, the media shape opinions and decisions related to the nature and scope of conflicts, as well as how to constructively handle actual and potential conflict where social/political and economic conflict have degenerated into widespread violence, the role of information in mitigating the effects of violence in presenting alternatives can be crucial. This is according to excerpts from African Media and conflict (Abiodun Onadipe & David Lord).
Robert Karl Manoff, Executive Director of the Centre for War, Peace and the News Media has pointed out,
“Overall media influence is significant and increasing so, as a result the media constitute a major human resource who’s potential to help prevent and moderate social perspectives.”
It filters important information for individual opinion and this way affects the awareness of people whose reality is increasingly opened up by the media.