For several years, the print media has been declared in crisis. Whether with the advent of the Internet or free newspapers, the aging of the readership or rising production costs, the justifications are not lacking. And yet they always seem to miss the point. At the same time much criticized but considered necessary to the society, the press contains within it many contradictions. These difficulties come from a lack of definition of what the press is or a gap between what it is in reality and what individuals would like it to be.
Functions of the media
The first function attributed to the press is to inform people by collecting general news. But then a first difficulty arises to know what must be the subject of information and beyond knowing who can decide. Depending on how the role of the press is designed, these issues will be treated differently. A second function exists, that of entertainment. The press, in its broadest sense, includes magazines or specialized magazines. Perceived as a function appeared with the modern press, entertainment has nevertheless always been one of the two dimensions of the press. The contribution of modernity may have been to blur the line between informing and entertaining, which is the subject of some of the criticism of the press.
The way of conceiving the setting up of information and entertainment varies according to the times and even according to the editorials of the different newspapers. This multiplicity of points of view contributes to the difficulty of defining a precise role for the press. These disagreements concern the journalistic practice but do not call into question the necessity of the press, its existence. There is no return on what was behind the creation of the press and that could explain its current difficulties. The question of what you want for the press is different from the question of what is the current link between the press and society in a democracy. What is being questioned here is not that the evolution of the press but rather that of the link between the press and society. For that you will have to define what is understood by the term of press and society. But both have changed over time, leading to a change in the relationship between them.
Let’s dare a first definition of what is meant by the terms of press and democratic society. A democratic society is a free and egalitarian society in which the people have a decisive influence in the invention and execution of the law. More precisely, it will be subject here modern democracies and not democracy as it existed elsewhere. By press, it is primarily about the written press but to understand the complexity of the phenomenon references to other media such as radio, television or the Internet are not excluded.