It is universally acknowledged, at least within western liberal democracies, that freedom of expression is an essential component of the society. Every kind of opinion is welcomed as far as it does not violate the rights of third parties. As democracy is all about dialogue and debating and involving the whole of the society in decision-making, what people think is the most important part of all. And whether we like it or not, the media shape the way we think.
We live in a world where people constantly comment on the fact that the media in our days have been more influencing than they have ever been before. It is said that their importance is so great, that it actually breaks the trias politica principle and emerges as the 4th power. We get to know what is going on around the world through the media, whereas this could be a magazine, newspaper, radio, television or the newest version of getting informed; the web. If one considers the fact that a happening can be delivered in so many different ways, through so many different points of view, simply because our world is not just black and white, then the role of the media is crucial. What we are actually reading, watching or listening to is in one way or another news through somebody else’s point of view.
So it seems like the media have a lot or even too much power in their hands. Especially when someone considers that the opinion of a whole society is shaped by entities that have never been democratically elected, and there was never a debate on whether they are indeed capable of delivering news, then the whole issue becomes even more complicated. What I am trying to point out here is that more often and most easily than we think, citizens are influenced by media which in their turn might serve interests of third parties even if such interests are conflicting those of the citizens. This doesn’t mean that all media are like this of course and most importantly we should not confuse bias with serving someone else’s interest. Every opinion is biased simply because it’s personal. What my point is that we cannot control the extend to which this occurs. But it’s happening, I know it, you know it, but quite frankly there isn’t much we can do about it.
Or there might be something. This is listening and generally getting yourselves involved to community media. Community media serve as a platform of exchange of ideas and opinions between the citizens of the community. It should be highlighted that nowadays, thanks to the internet, a community cannot only be defined by geographical means but by others such as ethnic, political and so on. The nature of community media is clearly one of non-profit, thus eliminating further the danger of having the interests of third parties prioritized over to the interests of the citizens. Community media are operated in the community, for the community about and most importantly by the community. Thus it is a clear reflection of the needs of the community that it operates to.
Now, as far as Cyprus is concerned, Community Media are present in our littler island thanks to MYCY Radio which is managed by the NGO Cyprus Community Media Centre and is the only web multilingual radio in Cyprus. Being an example of community media, it gives the chance to people from all different backgrounds, amateurs and professionals to raise their voice on issues that concern not only themselves but also fellow citizens. MYCY Radio is a place where you know that what you’re listening to, represents merely the opinion of the person involved. Transparency is something that the Cypriot society desperately needs as we are now for good into the 21st century and MYCY Radio can offer that. It is a place where everyone can get him/herself involved in a dialogue which will serve as a mean for improvement in our community.