Media (communication)

Media are the communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data.[1][2] The term refers to components of the mass media communications industry, such as print media, publishing, the news media, photography, cinema, broadcasting (radio and television), digital media, and advertising.[3]

The development of early writing and paper enabling longer-distance communication systems such as mail, including in the Persian Empire (Chapar Khaneh and Angarium) and Roman Empire, which can be interpreted as early forms of media.[4] Writers such as Howard Rheingold have framed early forms of human communication as early forms of media, such as the Lascaux cave paintings and early writing.[5] Another framing of the history of media starts with the Chauvet Cave paintings and continues with other ways to carry human communication beyond the short range of voice: smoke signals, trail markers, and sculpture.[6]

The Term media in its modern application relating to communication channels was first used by Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan, who stated in Counterblast (1954): "The media are not toys; they should not be in the hands of Mother Goose and Peter Pan executives. They can be entrusted only to new artists because they are art forms." By the mid-1960s, the term had spread to general use in North America and the United Kingdom. The phrase "mass media" was, according to H.L. Mencken, used as early as 1923 in the United States.[7]

The term "medium" (the singular form of "media") is defined as "one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television."[8]



The role of regulatory authorities (license broadcaster institutions, content providers, platforms) and the resistance to political and commercial interference in the autonomy of the media sector are both considered as significant components of media independence. In order to ensure media independence, regulatory authorities should be placed outside of governments' directives. this can be measured through legislation, agency statutes and rules.[9]

Government regulations


The process of issuing licenses in many regions still lacks transparency and is considered to follow procedures that are obscure and concealing. In many countries, regulatory authorities stand accused of political bias in favor of the government and ruling party, whereby some prospective broadcasters have been denied licenses or threatened with the withdrawal of licenses. In many countries, diversity of content and views have diminished as monopolies, fostered directly or indirectly by States.[9] This not only impacts on competition but leads to a concentration of power with potentially excessive influence on public opinion.[10] Buckley et al. cite failure to renew or retain licenses for editorially critical media; folding the regulator into government ministries or reducing its competences and mandates for action; and lack of due process in the adoption of regulatory decisions, among others, as examples in which these regulators are formally compliant with sets of legal requirements on independence, but their main task in reality is seen to be that of enforcing political agendas.[11]

Government endorsed appointments

State control is also evident in the increasing politicization of regulatory bodies operationalized through transfers and appointments of party-aligned individuals to senior positions in regulatory authorities.

Internet regulation

Governments worldwide have sought to extend regulation to internet companies, whether connectivity providers or application service providers, and whether domestically or foreign-based. The impact on journalistic content can be severe, as internet companies can err too much on the side of caution and take down news reports, including algorithmically, while offering inadequate opportunities for redress to the affected news producers.[9]


At the regional level

In Western Europe, self-regulation provides an alternative to state regulatory authorities. In such contexts, newspapers have historically been free of licensing and regulation, and there has been repeated pressure for them to self-regulate or at least to have in-house ombudsmen. However, it has often been difficult to establish meaningful self-regulatory entities.

In many cases, self-regulations exists in the shadow of state regulation, and is conscious of the possibility of state intervention. In many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, self-regulatory structures seems to be lacking or have not historically been perceived as efficient and effective.[12]

The rise of satellite delivered channels, delivered directly to viewers, or through cable or online systems, renders much larger the sphere of unregulated programing. There are, however, varying efforts to regulate the access of programmers to satellite transponders in parts of the Western Europe and North American region, the Arab region and in Asia and the Pacific. The Arab Satellite Broadcasting Charter was an example of efforts to bring formal standards and some regulatory authority to bear on what is transmitted, but it appears to not have been implemented.[13]

International organizations and NGOs

Self-regulation is expressed as a preferential system by journalists but also as a support for media freedom and development organizations by intergovernmental organizations such as UNESCO and non-governmental organizations. There has been a continued trend of establishing self-regulatory bodies, such as press councils, in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Major internet companies have responded to pressure by governments and the public by elaborating self-regulatory and complaints systems at the individual company level, using principles they have developed under the framework of the Global Network Initiative. The Global Network Initiative has grown to include several large telecom companies alongside internet companies such as Google, Facebook and others, as well as civil society organizations and academics.[14]

The European Commission’s 2013 publication, ICT Technology Sector Guide on Implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, impacts on the presence of independent journalism by defining the limits of what should or should not be carried and prioritized in the most popular digital spaces.[15]

Private sector

Ranking Digital Rights indicator scores for policy transparency in regards to third-party requests for content or account restriction
Ranking Digital Rights indicator scores for policy transparency in regard to their terms of service enforcement (which impact upon content or account restrictions)

Public pressure on technology giants has motivated the development of new strategies aimed not only at identifying ‘fake news’, but also at eliminating some of the structural causes of their emergence and proliferation. Facebook has created new buttons for users to report content they believe is false, following previous strategies aimed at countering hate speech and harassment online. These changes reflect broader transformations occurring among tech giants to increase their transparency. As indicated by the Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index, most large internet companies have reportedly become relatively more forthcoming in terms of their policies about transparency in regard to third party requests to remove or access content, especially in the case of requests from governments.[16][17] At the same time, however, the study signaled a number of companies that have become more opaque when it comes to disclosing how they enforce their own terms of service, in restricting certain types of content and account.[17]

Fact-checking and news literacy

In addition to responding to pressure for more clearly defined self-regulatory mechanisms, and galvanized by the debates over so-called ‘fake news’, internet companies such as Facebook have launched campaigns to educate users about how to more easily distinguish between ‘fake news’ and real news sources. Ahead of the United Kingdom national election in 2017, for example, Facebook published a series of advertisements in newspapers with ‘Tips for Spotting False News’ which suggested 10 things that might signal whether a story is genuine or not.[18] There have also been broader initiatives bringing together a variety of donors and actors to promote fact-checking and news literacy, such as the News Integrity Initiative at the City University of New York’s School of Journalism. This 14 million USD investment by groups including the Ford Foundation and Facebook was launched in 2017 so its full impact remains to be seen. It will, however, complement the offerings of other networks such as the International Fact-Checking Network launched by the Poynter Institute in 2015 which seeks to outline the parameters of the field.[19]

Social impact

Media technology has made viewing increasingly easier as time has passed. Children today are encouraged to use media tools in school and are expected to have a general understanding of the various technologies available. The internet is arguably one of the most effective tools in media. E-mail, Skype, Facebook and other services have brought people closer together and created new online communities. However, some argue that certain types of media can hinder face-to-face communication.

In a large consumer-driven society, electronic media such as television and print media such as newspapers are important for distributing advertisements. More technologically advanced societies have access to goods and services through newer media than less technologically advanced societies.

In addition to this advertising role, media are nowadays tools for sharing knowledge around the world. Analysing the evolution of media within the society, Popkin[20] assesses their role in building connections between politics, culture, economic life and society. For instance, newspapers have provided opportunities to advertisers and to readers seeking up-to-date information on foreign affairs or the economy. Willinsky[21] promotes the potential of modern technology to cross cultural, gender or national barriers. He sees the internet as offering an opportunity to establish a fair and equal system of knowledge: as the internet is (in theory) accessible to anyone, any information on it may be read and consulted by anyone. Willinsky argues that the internet is a sustainable way to overcome the gap between developed and developing countries, as both will get a chance to learn from each other. Canagarajah[22] addresses the issue of unbalanced relations between the North and South countries, asserting that Western countries tend to impose their own ideas on developing countries. Therefore, internet is way to re-establish balance, by for instance enhance publication of newspaper, academic journal from developing countries. Christen[23] is the one who created a system that provide access to knowledge and protect people's customs and culture. Indeed, in some traditional societies, some genders cannot have access to a certain type of knowledge therefore respecting these customs limit the scope of dissemination but still allow the diffusion of knowledge. Within this process of dissemination, media would play a role of "intermediaries", that is say translation an academic research into a journalistic format, accessible by lay audience ( Levin[24]). Consequently, media is a modern form of communication aiming at spreading knowledge within the whole world, regardless any form of discrimination.

Media, through media and communications psychology, has helped to connect diverse people from far and near a geographical location. It has also helped in the aspect of on-line or Internet businesses and other activities that have an on-line version. All media intended to affect human behavior is initiated through communication and the intended behavior is couched in psychology. Therefore, understanding media and communications psychology is fundamental in understanding the social and individual effects of media. The expanding field of media and communications psychology combines these established disciplines in a new way.

Timing change based on innovation and efficiency may not have a direct correlation with technology. The information revolution is based on modern advancements. During the 19th century, the information "boom" rapidly advanced because of postal systems, an increase in newspaper accessibility, as well as schools "modernizing". These advancements were made due to the increase of people becoming literate and educated.[citation needed] The methodology of communication although has changed and dispersed in numerous directions based on the source of its sociocultural impact. Biases in the media that affect religious or ethnic minorities take the form of racism in the media and religious bias in the media.

Electronic media

In the last century, a revolution in telecommunications has greatly altered communication by providing new media for long-distance communication. The first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast occurred in 1906 and led to common communication via analog and digital media:

Modern communication media now allow for intense long-distance exchanges between larger numbers of people (many-to-many communication via e-mail, Internet forums, and teleportation). On the other hand, many traditional broadcast media and mass media favor one-to-many communication (television, cinema, radio, newspaper, magazines, and also social media).

Electronic media usage is growing, although concern has arisen that it distracts youth from face-to-face contact with friends and family. Research on the social engagement effect is mixed. One study by Wellman found that "33% of Internet users said that the Internet had improved their connections to friends 'a lot', and 23% said it had increased the quality of their communication with family members by a similar amount. Young people in particular took advantage of the social side of the Internet. Nearly half (49%) of the 18- to 29-year-olds said that the Internet had improved their connections to friends a lot. On the other hand, 19% of employed Internet users said that the Internet had increased the amount of time they spent working in home".[25]

Electronic media now comes in the forms of computers (tablets, laptops and desktops), cell phones, MP3 players, DVDs, video game systems, radios, and television. Technology has spiked to record highs within the last decade, thus changing the dynamic of communication. The spike in electronic media really started to grow in 2007 when the release of the first iPhone came out.[26] The meaning of electronic media, as it is known in various spheres, has changed with the passage of time. The term media has achieved a broader meaning nowadays as compared to that given it a decade ago. Earlier, there was multimedia, once only a piece of software (application software) used to play audio (sound) and video (visual object with or without sound). Following this, it was CD (Compact Disc) and DVD (Digital Versatile Disc), then camera of 3G (third generation) applications in the field.

In modern terms, the term "media" includes all the software which are used in PC (personal computer) or laptop or mobile phone installed for normal or better performance of the system; today, however, hard discs (used to increase the installation capacity of data) of computer are an example of electronic media. This type of hard disc is becoming increasingly smaller in physical size.

The latest inclusion in the field is magnetic media (magnetic stripe) whose application is common in the fastest growing information technology field. Modern day IT media is commonly used in the banking sector and by the Income Tax Department for the purpose of providing the easiest and fastest possible services to consumers. In this magnetic strip, account information linking to all the data relating to a particular consumer is stored. The main features of these types of media are prepared unrecorded (blank form), and data is normally stored at a later stage as per the requirement of its user or consumer.

Games as a medium for communication

Games are a medium used to transfer messages. Apart from the usual graphic, auditory and narrative elements in video games, the game mechanics make it unique in the media field.[citation needed] Following Marshal McLuhan's quote "the medium is the message", Earnest Adams and Joris Dormans make a point in their book Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design that:[27]

“To use a game to communicate, you don’t just produce a clever signal to convey your message. Instead, you construct a machine—the game’s mechanics—that produces the signal for you.”

The players interact with the game and infer the message by observing the game's output. The game mechanics can discriminate against particular actions while encouraging others, thus leading the players to conclude that a certain behavior is more likely to produce the desired outcomes. Although this is commonly and successfully used for entertainment purposes it can also be used as a tool for public relations – for example as advergaming.}

Gamification has been used to communicate in other areas as well. The game design video lessons show Extra Credits has criticized China's Sesame Credit for gamifying the act of "being an obedient citizen",[28] using tools that are commonly used in games can incentivize a specific behavior to increase one's credit.

See also


Definition of Free Cultural Works logo notext.svg This article incorporates text from a free content work. Licensed under CC BY SA 3.0 IGO License statement/permission on Wikimedia Commons . Text taken from World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development Global Report 2017/2018 , 202, UNESCO. To learn how to add open license text to Wikipedia articles, please see this how-to page. For information on reusing text from Wikipedia, please see the terms of use.


  1. ^ "What is media? definition and meaning" .
  2. ^ Cory Janssen. "What is Communication Media? - Definition from Techopedia" .
  3. ^ Martin Lister; Jon Dovey; Seth Giddings; Iain Grant; Kieran Kelly. New Media: A Critical Introduction (PDF) (2nd ed.).
  4. ^ Dunston, Bryan (2002). "Postal system" . The Chicago School of Media Theory. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  5. ^ Livingstone, Sonia M.; Lievrouw, Leah A. (2009). New Media: A Critical Introduction . Taylor & Francis. pp. 52–53. ISBN 9780415431606.
  6. ^ Lule, Jack (2012). Globalization and Media: Global Village of Babel . Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 33–34. ISBN 9780742568365.
  7. ^ Colombo, John Robert (1994). Colombo's All-Time Great Canadian Quotations . Stoddart Publishing. p. 176 . ISBN 0-7737-5639-6.
  8. ^ "The definition of medium" . Retrieved 2015-08-10.
  9. ^ a b c World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development Global Report 2017/2018 (PDF) (Report). UNESCO. 2018.
  10. ^ Hanretty, Chris. 2014. Media outlets and their moguls: Why concentrated individual or family ownership is bad for editorial independence. European Journal of Communication 29 (3): 335–350.
  11. ^ Buckley, Steve, Kreszentia Duer, Toby Mendel, and Sean O. Siochru. 2008. Broadcasting, Voice, and Accountability : A Public Interest Approach to Policy, Law, and Regulation. Washington, DC: World Bank.
  12. ^ Fengler, Susanne, Tobias Eberwein, Salvador Alsius, Olivier Baisnée, Klaus Bichler, Boguslawa Dobek-Ostrowska, Huub Evers, et al. 2015. How effective is media self-regulation? Results from a comparative survey of European journalists. European Journal of Communication 30 (3): 249–266.
  13. ^ World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development (PDF) (Report). Paris: UNESCO. 2014.
  14. ^ "Global Network Initiative Adds Seven Companies in Milestone Expansion of Freedom of Expression and Privacy Initiative" (Press release). Global Network Initiative. March 28, 2017.
  15. ^ Shift and Institute for Human Rights and Business (2013). ICT Sector Guide on Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (PDF) (Report). European Commission.
  16. ^ Ranking Digital Rights. 2015. Corporate Accountability Index. Available at .
  17. ^ a b Ranking Digital Rights. 2017. Corporate Accountability Index. Available at .
  18. ^ "Tips to Spot False News | Facebook Help Center | Facebook" . Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  19. ^ "International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers' code of principles" . Poynter. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  20. ^ Popkin, Dewald (2004). Journalism, Newspaper and newsheets. Europe 1450-1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World.CS1 maint: location (link)
  21. ^ Willinsky, Frank (2005). The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship.
  22. ^ Canagarajah, Suresh (2010). "Internationalizing Knowledge Construction and Dissemination". The Modern Language Journal. 94 (4): 661–664. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4781.2010.01105.x .
  23. ^ Christen, Kim (2012). "Does information really want to be free?". International Journal of Communication.
  24. ^ Levin, Ben (February 2013). "To know is not enough: research knowledge and its use".
  25. ^ Lee, Leung, Lo, Xiong, & Wu p. 377 & 378
  26. ^ Cohen, Peter. "Macworld Expo Keynote Live Update: Introducing the iPhone" . Macworld. PCWorld. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  27. ^ McLuhan, Marshal (June 25, 2012). Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design. US: New Riders. p. 147. ISBN 978-0321820273.
  28. ^ "Propaganda Games: Sesame Credit - The True Danger of Gamification" . Extra Credits. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2018 – via YouTube.

Further reading

  • McQuail, Denis (2001) McQuail's
  • Mass Communication Theory (fourth edition), Sage, London, pp. 16–34. MAS
  • Biagi, S. (2004). Media Impact. Wadsworth Pub Co, 7th edition.
  • Caron, A. H. and Caronia, L. (2007). Moving cultures: mobile communication in everyday life. McGill-Queen's University Press.


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