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Literature Review : Awareness of Public in Selecting Local Leaders Essay

Selections of the local leaders grab a highly attention to many local residents and peoples. This proved that participation of the population in selections of their leaders is an increasingly as common event nowadays. According to Alexander D (2007), state that the phenomenon also happened in country such as India, United States and Australia facing a huge number of populations that involved during the general elections process to determine their favoured leaders. According to Alex Gusmao (n. d), the practiced of democracy would increase the number of participation of local people in choosing the right leaders.

Due to the democracy practices, peoples are more become aware about their responsibilities and their power to choose the leader who can lead the community and bring hopes and changes to the future of their areas. Mass Media Influence the people’s awareness to select their leaders The impacts of mass media bring the greater attention and awareness of the public towards political concern. According to Johnson L (1969), stated that the relationship between political and mass media is inseparable as media gives impact to the American politics.

He added that media had the power to create leaders by painting a good image of a person such as Ted Kennedy. According to Zaller (1999), political leaders communicate with the public primarily through news media that they do not control. The news media now stand between politicians and their constituents. Politicians speak to the media; the media then speak to the voters. During election campaigns, the media become a vital component for both the politicians (the candidates) and the public.

The media act as the connector between the public and the politicians. According to Zaller (1999), politicians rely on the media to get their messages and attention across to the public. The public on the other hand rely on the media for information on candidates, their policies and also their personalities. This is important because who they select for will depend on the information they receive from the media. There are several of theories related with mass media communication that supported the influence of mass media. According to Armin W. 2010), agenda- setting theories bring the impacts to the media coverage to influence and create the public attention and select some issues and topic related to public discourse. The purpose is to create the public noticed (awareness), as well as salience makes the issue become more important (priority). According to Graber (1997), audiences would follow the media guidance but not slavishly. Therefore, agenda setting theories approach is used to influence of media coverage on the choice and salience of topics or issues to make it more interesting topic and public debated.

According to political scientist Ralph Negrine (1996), the mass media act; (1) as an important link between the public, and the opinion of the public and the decision-making processes of government;(2) as a key player in the construction or creation of the public opinion;(3) as a means by which the public can come to play a direct and indirect part in the democratic process. There are several medium used by mass media to create the awareness of peoples in selecting their local leaders: 1) Television Television become as a major source of political information compared to internet usage.

Despite those different patterns in media usage, in almost every modern society the majority of people name television as their most important source of information about politics. According to Plasser (2002) has compared survey data from 35 different countries and found that in Northern America 70% of the respondents rely on TV as their primary source of political information, in Latin America the average number is 77%, in Western Europe 74%, in Eastern and Central Europe 69%, in Australia 69%, and in East Asia 74%. These data could assume that the relevance of news sources could have changed with the proliferation of the internet.

To the surprise of the researchers even the Digital Natives in the youngest age group of 15 to 24-year-olds most frequently named television, despite their comparatively strong reliance on the internet. Even in typical newspaper-centric societies such as Germany or Austria, TV still holds the top position in this ranking of news media, with more than 60% of the respondents naming it as one of their preferred sources. In a very different media environment (with a much stronger public television sector), Schmitt-Beck and Mackenrodt (2009) surveyed more than 2,000 German voters go out before the parliamentary elections of 2005.

The result explained that media increased the people’s awareness at that time through news on public television commercial and political talk programme. For viewers of news on public TV with a low interest in politics, the analysis showed over the course of the election campaign a remarkably strong increase in their intension to vote. According to Prior, the so-called Relative Entertainment Preference of TV, he argued that viewers could determine a large extent their consumption of political information and their possibility to vote.

With the constantly increasing media choice over the last decades, those who would prefer entertainment and fiction programming have increasingly and turned away from political news. It is supported by research done by Werlberger, she carry out the survey a sample of 501 Austrian citizens and 30% of them said they had no or almost no interest in political information gained from all media channel, the result shows the low interest among age of 15 to 29 years and female respondents avoiding of political information via television. 1) Newspaper

Newspaper is another media means to deliver the message and information to the readers regarding the political conditions and issues that arise. The bigger challenges facing by the conventional media when the situation worsened when a depressed economy forced more readers to cancel their newspaper subscriptions, and business is no longer operate as a result, closures of newspapers, bankruptcy, job cuts and salary cuts are widespread as what happens in US (Mahmud, 2009). Comparing to US, Malaysian still rely on the information get from the newspaper.

Most Malaysians still get their news from conventional media like newspapers to access the information about political arena. Even though, the challenges comes from the advancement of new technology such as the Internet, readership has yet to drop to a drastic level, while advertisers still regard it as the medium of choice, however this does not means that newspapers in Malaysia can sit back and do nothing while expecting their readership to be maintained or increase (Yap, 2009). Online newspaper has been introduced by Malaysia such as like what US did, where people can read the newspaper with free such as (http://www. nlinenewspapers. com/malaysia. htm) and other printed newspaper. According to Plasser (2002) in his finding, peoples still remained to choose to read newspaper to gain the information about the political matters only about 35 per cent preferred on newspaper which largely come from group of age above 25 years old. Majority of 70% named TV which represents the all groups of age from 15- 55 years old, and 40% on the internet mostly younger age of 15- 24 years old. 2) Radio Radio is part of instrument used by media to provide the information to the peoples regarding political matters.

Political talk Radio is one of medium provided such of discussion of the politics issues. According to Knight & Barker (1996), Political talk radio can be defined as “call-in show that emphasize discussion of politicians, elections, and public policy issues”. The effectiveness of Political Talk Radio brings the formation of voters to shape their political knowledge towards choosing the rights leaders. This knowledge would turn their awareness, attitudes s and public opinion toward political leaders. In recent years, Political Talk Radio has grown as a major source of political information for many of its audience members.

According to Zaller’s (1996) , Political talk radio provides a good context in which to test media effects because sound measures of media reception are available, and variance in the content of the messages sent by hosts about political leaders is large. In some circumstances, it can also be a determinant of public opinion and political behavior (Knight & Barker, 1996). Studies of the impact of political talk radio have focused on the nature of democratic participation (Bick, 1988; Page & Tannenbaum, 1996), political and social alienation (Hoffstetter et al. 1994; Petrozzello, 1994), and public opinion and political behavior (Barker, 1996; Boyer, 1992; Herbst, 1995).

3) Media Electronic (Internet, Blog , Facebook , Tweeter and etc) The advancement of new technology, such as internet and widespread of social networking bring the integration among all of the people across the globe. The impact of social networking encouraged the political field to be connected with social life of peoples in which social networking used as a medium for the peoples to get close with their leader. Political leaders and parties recently began to use social networking to achieve political bjectives.

For example, all of the candidates in the 2008 United States presidential election aggressively used information and communication technologies, such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and others. As according to Will and Reeves (2009) , there are several objectives that makes the political involved in social networking (1) to involve voters in on going two way communication;(2) to enhance interactions with the campaign; (3) to encourage voters to form online political societies among themselves; (4) to make financial contributions to the campaigns (Robertson et al. 010); and (5) to provide a lack of third parties by external interests with a decentralized core (Wills and Reeves 2009). In 2008 presidential election, American showed the use of mobile marketing to be a strong vehicle for governments and political parties to mobilize their supporters (Cook2010). Such tools as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube provided individuals with a means to become part of the larger political process (Levy 2008). According Travis N (2013), online media allows members to have more opportunities and provide communication with others in government journalist especially the public.

According to tweetcongress. org, all members of congress have a website over 70 percent and now have the Tweeter more than 500 members and official Facebook pages and some even have YouTube channels. This indicates that media plays a bigger role in displays the communication between the public and the leaders. Besides that, the greater the members of opportunities to communicate through new media, members are also be able to target their message to specific audiences.

There are several characteristic were identified looking by peoples that makes them aware in order to select their local leaders that capable to represent the welfare and needs of the peoples. 1) Background – Traditions and Customs According to research done by Alex G (n. d), some of local people “suku “or members of communities, applying the democracy practices in choosing their leaders. There are more preferred to select their local leaders or elected candidates with strong links to traditions and customs, in order to maintain the traditional leadership structure that particularly emphasised to maintain their culture.

As such, local people in eastern district Timor- Leste, the village like Uma Wa’in Kraik (Viqueque) and Ben Ufe (Oecusse), simply elect their customary leaders as village head. The reasons they choose customary leaders, because they are more familiar and have close relationship among the local peoples. As the leaders also have the better knowledge and experienced in handling the conflicts related to any traditions and customs and knows what people needs. According to some respondents, village heads nominated through political parties would serve only their own political party and their party members, instead of the local people.

This situation is contradict with the definition of the local leadership where the leaders need to engage with members of their community in order to learn about issues of local concern and help to facilitate a vision for the locality. It involves encouraging trust and respect between individuals and groups by mediating fairly and constructively between different organisations and sections of the community (Professor Jo Silvester, 2012). Thus, this issue bring the people become more aware in selecting their local leaders as they feel distrust and anxiety about the future of their village/ district.

The peoples feel that the future of their village is in their hand and part of their responsibility in choosing the right leaders that capable to represent their needs and welfare. 2) Leaders Traits –Characteristics and Qualities The characteristics reflect the attitude and behaviour of leaders. Leaders that possess the good characteristics such as the accountable, charismatic, clean and honest and trust-worthy give the advantage to them as it will attract the numbers of people to put their confidence on the leaders.

Indeed, people would choose the leaders that have this qualities that show their commitment and willingness to work for the people. According to John G. (n. d) states that peoples demanded and judge their leaders that have the capability in solving of their problems and meeting their needs. Based on research study done by James & Barry (2011) regarding the personalities and traits that should have by leaders is the most frequent answer by the peoples are integrity, competence and leadership.

Based on the finding of characteristic of admired leaders people select twenty characteristics / qualities, the result shows that honesty placed at top of list which is 85 percent, followed by forward looking 70 percent, inspiring 69 percent and other such as competent 64 percent and Intelligent 42 percent etc. In this case, peoples wish to have the leaders which are truthful, ethical and principled. According to Bass et al (1994), identified four key elements 4 I’s that reflects Lincoln characteristics, there are (1) Inspiring influence (2) Inspirational motivation (3) Inspirational stimulation and (4) Individualised considerations.

Besides that, leaders should pay their attention more towards their clear roles and responsibilities. There are certain characters with doubtful backgrounds and underworld connections that were selected as councillors (The Star, July 25, 2008). According to a former councillor, councillors should serve as the eyes and ears of the council so that they can serve the people and at the same time advice the council on what is going-on on the ground.


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