GRE Issue Essay 181
“In many countries it is now possible to turn on the television and view government at work. Watching these proceedings can help people understand the issues that affect their lives. The more kinds of government proceedings-trials, debates, meetings, etc-that are televised, the more society will benefit.”
In a democratic country, every citizen has a right to information. The government is answerable to its people who form the basis of the administration. I agree that when government proceedings are televised it makes people understand the issues that the government is dealing with. At the same time I disagree with the part of the statement, which says that the more the kinds of proceedings that are televised, the better it is for the society. In the following paragraphs I would like to discuss the points that make me agree only partially with the given statement.
There are many democratic countries today that telecast the live proceedings of their governments. A citizen plays a very important role in a democratic government for which he must have information about the leaders. The first role of a citizen is that of a voter. Since he has to cast his vote in favor of the leader who according to him is most responsible and competent, he can do this only by a better understanding of the way these leaders work. With the telecast of the proceedings, the citizens come to know how the leaders chosen by them are running the government. It is only then that people can understand their leaders better. It makes them the supporter of the leader who is most efficient and their precious votes help the leader to get elected in the elections.
The second important role played by the citizens is that of a critic. It is in the hands of the citizen to change the government if they are not satisfied with its work. With such live telecasts of parliamentary activity citizens can understand the working of the government clearly. It helps them to form their opinions and make a judgment about their leaders. They get an idea of who can work better as an administrator. Therefore, if the government is not doing justice to its office, the citizens can observe this by the televised programs and change the government when required.
The televised programs are definitely helpful for the citizens, but at the same time I maintain that too much telecast of the proceedings can harm, rather than benefit the society. The first reason that makes me hold this view is that there could be many issues in the proceedings that need secrecy, and if exposed to the public, would create serious security concerns. Discussions related to the defense mechanism, contrasting views regarding religion, caste etc., measures to deal with national and international terrorism etc. need to be discussed in secrecy. For example, there are chances of a communal riot to break out if the government’s debates regarding sensitive religious or communal issues are telecasted. Similarly, if the parliamentary meetings over the issue of security and defense measures are televised, it is likely to be misused by anti social elements, which can pose a threat to the country.
The second reason for my disagreement with this subject is that the live telecast of more and more government proceedings exposes the behavior of the parliamentarians. There are many debates, conversations and discussions held in such proceedings, which sometimes lead to quarrels. It is agreeable that the issues dealt by the government are not easy to handle and every leader can have his personal opinion. However, if quarrels and violence by these leaders is televised, it puts a wrong impression on the citizens. They could start losing confidence in the government and would probably stop believing in the otherwise good leaders.
In the end I would like to reassure my stand that telecasting government proceedings surely helps the people in understanding their government better. However, if this is taken to an extent, and more of these proceedings begin to be televised, it can harm the society to a great extent.