It goes without saying that mass media has become part and parcel of any contemporary society. The press, the radio and television play a very important part in the life of the society. They inform, educate and entertain people. They also influence the way people look at the world and make them change their views. As sociologists say news is not what happens, it is what you see or read about in mass media. In other words, mass media plays a very important role in moulding public opinion.
Millions of people watch TV and read newspapers in their spare time. The daily paper dominates family life at breakfast. Most of people can’t do without a newspaper in the underground or during the lunch break.
TV also dominates the life of the family most of the time. It’s needless to say that the TV set is not just a piece of furniture. It is some who is "one of the family". It is also a habit-forming drug impossible to resist.
The radio is turned on most of the time, creating a permanent background noise. In fact it does not interfere with your activities. I can easily listen to the radio while doing Maths, peeling potatoes or doing the washing up.
Generally I’m not very keen on politics, but I do watch news and various commentary and discussions called forums. My favorite forum is called "Svoboda Slova". In this forum several authorities exchange views on social, economic and political problems of our country. A number of sides is represented so that the listeners or the viewers could hear various opinions. In fact such broadcasts are very popular with the Russian audience, as people are able to see their leaders, deputies and presidents.
Various radio and TV games, such as a panel game or a quiz programme also attract a large audience. During a radio panel-game people send questions to the studio to be answered by the members of the panel, who compete for the best results. I personally adore watching "Svoya Igra", because I do believe that quick-minded intellectuals should be able to earn proper money. Besides, it’s both exciting and educative.
It’s no secret that some of the TV and radio stations are owned by big corporations, thus the owners can advertise whatever they choose. Very often the firms and joint ventures sponsor shows and programmes, thus giving common people a good chance to make a fortune or to win a valuable prize.
I dare say that mass media stimulates science and progress. To advertise their goods commercial firms buy TV and radio time. So most of the up to-date goods, new inventions and technologies become popular and well known with the help of mass media. So mass media promotes quality and progress into our every day life.
Of course advertising promotes business and benefits businessmen. However it annoys the general public. The play you are watching on TV may be interrupted several times by an appeal to use a new perfume or detergent, or drink a certain beer. And though we are used to everything being advertised, watching such programmes gives one a headache instead of providing relaxation. I would say that it’s a great pity that such immense cultural possibilities of Russian mass media are used mainly for purpose of selling more things…
Some critics declare that advertising allows great commercial firms to pull the rest of the people down to their own intellectual level. However it wouldn’t be fair to say that our mass media do not try to raise the cultural level of the people or to develop their artistic taste.
I’m generally too short of time to attend an exhibition or to go to the theatre, but I watch a play or a ballet on TV with great pleasure. Thus mass media can save us a lot of time, money and efforts, keeping people aware of what is happening in the world around us.