Not the End, Just the Beginning!

Image

As I plunder through the vast array of knowledge my brain has absorbed in the past 6 weeks, it is satisfying to say that I have expanded my awareness and ideas about the media. Looking back through my previous posts I recognize how my views have grown and transitioned from looking at particular theories and models “subjectively” to “objectively”. By looking at these studies objectively I am able to critically evaluate and critique the positives and negatives of each. However, I did enjoy placing my own thoughts and opinions on the matter as well.

Particular theories which I found most intriguing were “Reading Images” and “Ownership and Control”. In studying semiotics I learnt that I can’t look at an image and declare that the depiction is “real”. For example an image of a tree, it isn’t a “tree” it is rather an “image of a tree”. I found media-myth busting incredibly compelling and I discovered that there may be much deeper meaning behind an advertisement or some form of media communication e.g. Carl’s Jr Raunchy Cod Fish Sandwich. Now whenever I see an advertisement I feel it necessary to look beyond what is depicted and interpret it with more significance.

I was completely shocked to learn that most of our news and media was owned by two people in Australia. This turned my world upside down and I started viewing the media as a manipulation tool that was used by powerful people to control society. My negative thoughts throughout the lecture soon turned into positive thoughts when I did further research at home. I used “The Cove” to express that powerful people do not always try and control the media, but there are also powerful people using media to expose the truth.

Following the comments received on my blog, class discussion and reading other blogs I have learnt that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and whether I agree or disagree with their point of view it is important that I acknowledge their analysis in order to gain a well-rounded outlook on the issue.

I like to see this journey as growth towards enabling myself to look at the media objectively and determine its true implications on society, is it manipulation? What does the image mean? Am I being controlled? What effects does this have on society? And am I being watched?

This isn’t the end, this is just the beginning!

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Everyone Is Always Watching

CCTV footage is increasingly being used throughout the world by the government, businesses and individuals. But where does this anxiety about the role of media come from? Why all of a sudden do we feel the need to tighten our surveillance over our public peers and assets?

I believe that this strict employment of CCTV footage has been used by the government to tighten state control. It enables the regulation of the public and ensures that laws are being followed. This is also known as ‘Structural Marxism’ which is discussed by Louis Althusser in his article “On Ideology” 1971.  The use of CCTV footage by businesses allows for the protection of their stores and employees. Surveillance is able to identify thieves in a store, as well as keeping a watchful eye on the behaviour of staff. Other businesses, such as TV broadcasting networks, may use CCTV footage for the benefit of profit. This is evident in the Australian hit TV show “Big Brother”.

This particular show, by Channel Ten, places a mixture of individuals in a house and they are watched by the nation, every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. Watched by the nation and judged by the nation. This can be related to “Jeremy Bentham’s Participation Theory” in which all prisoners can be viewed through glass walls. Increasingly over the last decade, individuals have been placing surveillance cameras in their homes; this is mainly due to protection and making the home owners feel safe.

CCTV footage has many different uses, and it is safe to say that these uses vary dramatically. Surveillance can be used by repressive state apparatuses (state, army, and police) to depict a murderer from a crowd of people or it can be used as a mediated public sphere to create humour and contest ideologies. It’s pleasant to know that almost my every move is being watched, just in case something terrible happens, but where does this draw the line between my protection and my privacy?

Everyone is always watching, are you being watched?