Alternative Media

First of all, in order to discuss about alternative media, it is needed to indicate why this type of media are categorized as “alternative”. Name on it, alternative media are the ones which do not belong to mainstream. In this sense we may ask, what is mainstream media and why people need this alternative media concept?

Mainstream media are accepted as they serve to general interests of a society, mainly. However, mainstream media can be used as a manipulative instrument to direct people accordingly to the purposes and intentions of those who have the media tools. Fuchs (2010) points out that “Content and form of traditional media are ideological. Content is strictly defined by what is considered as popular and sellable. The drive for profit can result in a lack of quality, complexity, and sophistication (as e.g. yellow journalism that simplifies reality and is focused on singular examples, emotionalism, and sensationalism)” (p:179).
This shows us that media owners can pick up the news or arrange and edit them accordingly to their intentions and change people’s mind as they want. At this stage, audience could be considered as passive, because they do not take place in choosing their agendas actively; they just take what is given to. On the contrary, alternative media provide space for people to express their ideas in an active way. Not only to express but also to choose what they wish to hear and be informed about.

In my opinion, mainstream media have started to lose importance; correspondingly, alternative media have started to become a major tool to keep up with the latest events. As indicated above, thanks to alternative media tools, people are now able to discuss about the latest events and trends free from mainstream control mechanism. Certainly, developing communication technologies play an important role in this stage; thanks to these technologies, people are now able to contact with each other no matter how far they are (time and space compression). That brings us to the “Global village” concept which was conceptualized by McLuhan. As we know, there is a huge transformation in communication technology. Almost everyone has a smartphone, and these devices provide people chance to stay in contact with each other. These technologies goes hand in hand with software technologies. The last decade, social media become so popular that there are 1 billion of social media users estimated; in other words, there is a huge network of users has been established around the world. Thus, there are no more spatial distance between people. These people share their ideas and opinions for a particular issue with the others just in a second. I can say that, communication technologies allowed Habermas’s “public sphere” concept worldwide. The reason for this, people are so connected to each other that they can discuss about the events without leaving their homes; they are no longer have to meet phisically like it was used to be so in the past.

2 thoughts on “Alternative Media”

  1. I Agree with your thougt. The other response of why “alternative” media is called as “alternative” that ” because in general tradational media which are tv, newspaper, magazines, radio, etc.. are still used however sometimes people cannot benefit from these sources. And so they use “alternative” media for being it is wider and faster than other media tools.
    On the other hand; People who does not interest in daily news, now start to follow the news through facebook and twitter or blogs or online journalism And so people get inform about hot issues.
    the other issue is that when we look at the examples of the organizations, such as “occupy wall street” and “yes we camp”, there is seen the effects of social media; facebook and twitter. Because beople organize and inform from there easily and faster.
    The other example is Arab Spring of course. Through alternative media, this movement was spread and announced.
    ın conclusion; through alternative media; people are informed the issues all over the world and even if where they live, they can be organize. let’s look at the other example of Syria issue may be it cannot be spread if people cannot beneft from alternative media.

  2. I also agree with Emircan thought,mainly. My opinion is alternative media are the result of civil-civic initiatives. What makes this position of alternative media independent, is the fact that those voices do not speak from the perspective of political party or ideological dogmas, but we recognizes their role in the tendency to become concealer social consciousness (and conscience) community in which they reside.
    Something what makes the big difference between the current market-profit mainstreams media on one side, and “independent”, “non-profit” media on the other, is the fact that these alternative non profit media give emphasis on the quality and content of the program, and they don’t use common practice in the media that content is subordinate to the form, and the form is subordinate to market-advertising models and policies.
    According to your sentence ‘mainstream media are accepted as they serve to general interests of a society, mainly’ , i want to say, today, for each aware human, more acceptable sentence is ‘mainstream media does not serve the general interest of the society, mainly’:)
    However, the problem with the alternative is that it tends to close in on itself, in a warm and familiar circle of like-minded people. So, alternative media generally talking to a defined audience, to foster their own points of view (better to not say ideology), they little question their starting points. Objectivity is less important, and the texts are highlighted sided. And then slowly begin to lose own values ​​and pretend in dogma, and the respective media becomes, and alternative media starting to be autonomous region with an iron curtain around it. But that is not in all cases. I am just giving example what’s happening, and what can happen, that’s mean that every coin have two sides.
    Çağla Kaya talk’s about Arab spring and importance of alternative media, and I agree with that. But here some information that i heard,situation reached its top when the regime’s forces turn off the internet and mobile connections, and then the crowd of people came to the square to see what happens. And one question for the end is, can alternative media survive without internet and mobile connection?

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