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abel d soto
abel soto UNDOUBTEDLY, IN an age where media have already become one of the most overriding forms of culture—so overriding, in truth, they could now be perceived as the height of commercial culture—that an explanatory theory of the media becomes significantly paramount.

Taking into great consideration that there is a close link between culture and media, and that media have become culture for a lot of practitioners in the field, a theory that sees the media outside the cultural context will be afflicted with shortsightedness.

The question at hand now lies in knowing what kind of culture should media be anchored on in the present age? The culture of politics will definitely dirty the media even more. The culture of religion or morality will suffocate the media in a probably ridiculous length. The culture of arts and entertainment will make media one big circus show that will definitely be more stupid than entertaining. The culture of business will nullify and corrupt media's innate mission to serve and not solely to sell. (Whatever it is media are selling nowadays.)

So what culture are we talking about here?

Although media practitioners are somehow unmindful of the deep significance of having an adequate theory of media culture, it is however a real necessity to have one that is defined by sincere and honest people in the field, who, I believe, are still many. For without this adequate and substantial theory in the media culture, media would nevertheless lack a fundamental connection to more profound aspects of life—freedom, justice, equality, and general welfare—without being tied to the political system that aims to ensure (or corrupt—however one chooses to perceive this fact) such liberties.

But are the media today still linked with these liberties that they vowed to fight and die for? Rhetorically? Probably. But look first who's criticizing.

Another important question that rattles the media nowadays is whether they accurately capture the complexity of the links. Does the culture that governs the media today best explain the intricate set of relationships among media, culture, and democracy? (What's that again? Democracy?)

I personally refuse to believe that we in the media today are just trying to fool one another by obliging ourselves to be enslaved by politics, business, money, friendship, and some more other things that similarly corrupt the media and our government today.

An honest to goodness theory of media culture today should justify, at least, the following prevalent facts which typify the intersection of culture and media when perceived in the contextual paradigm of a democratic political system: the treatment of politics as entertainment; the focus of image over substance, especially pertaining to politicians and their positions; monopoly ownership of the media by corporations; the uniformity of perspective from which the media cover political news; the media's seemingly vast (yet sometime already abusive and intrusive) political power, especially in the light of its proclamation of objectivity; the historical basis for the formulation of a media culture and the history behind the media's acquisition of power over the political system.

But how do we do this very tasking, if not totally impossible, task in the media today, if we ourselves in the media are trying pull each other down and waiting for each other's commission of blunders, if making PROFIT is what we see as the main basis of our effectiveness and efficiency of quality work standards?

Oh well? I think we need more than just trillions of profit to heal ourselves of this prevailing and perennial illness in the culture that we have in the MEDIA today.

[About the author. Abel D. Soto took up his certificatory double major course in Creative Writing and Performing Arts at Centre for Arts Foundation, Inc. in Quezon City. He also finished the Managing the Arts Program at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City. He is a resident of Bacolor, Pampanga.]

-Posted: 6:42 PM 3/19/11 | More of this author on eK!