The media plays a vital role of any liberal democracy shaping the perception of the people. Media acts as watch dog, as guardian of the public interest, it can promote democracy by using such techniques such as educating voters, protecting human rights, ensuring that government being transparent and accountable. The importance of free press cannot be under estimated because government is unable to control all the information regarding its own actions then it could most certainly lose its accountability and even having unacceptable level of influence over its public action. The basic aim of a free media is to scrutinize the government consciously so that people should be kept updated with accurate and impartial information to take any action accordingly. The media more often referred as the fourth branch of the government because of its oversight function and power they exercise.
The media at the same time can play anti-democratic roles as well such as they can sow fear, division and violence. Instead of promoting democracy, they can be a reason in democratic decay.
The media comprised of Radio, TV, satellite, Newspaper and the internet services, by this unprecedented growth it helped to bring political information to large masses. It is very hard to remove political influence and enforce neutral position, as media and liberal democracies are facing specific problems. The media not only report the news but also represent the views of different segments of society. Some of the organization take one side of the political spectrum by providing biased information using propaganda techniques, here the source creates the confusion and mistrust among the audiences.
Democracy cannot take effective impression if the poor people and powerless are kept out of the public sphere and remain unaware of their rights. For bringing justice to society or keeping the people aware of their rights, the media being effective player provide the information to the poor people so that they take part in public life.
The main issue in liberal democracies is the emergence of media empires. These empires distort the information or divert the mind of their audiences by propagating events into another dimension. Some of the individuals concentrate various assets of media and use them actively to influence political opinion, by sending powerful political message on behalf or against a political establishment through their respective media empires. This resultant into damaging perception of general public as they are exposed to media empire due to high popularity. The individuals have the ability to provoke people or interest groups into mobilizing by introducing the a certain issue by displaying horrific images from the battlefield or controversial things to gather massive response.
The media from its various diversion could possibly distort the quality of information and that could distort the decision of the people. If the positive issues are reported in negative manner then some voters will vote against the right person contrary of their interest.
According to vertical and horizontal functions media actually have an effect on how well democracy can work. Countries with high degree of media shows high levels of political participation and less corruption. It is clear that media performance is related to at least some aspects of the functioning of a democratic regime. The owners of media empires have adapted swiftly new technology and expanding to various broadcast media such as private and satellite TV. Media empire continue to dominate much of the main stream broad cast networks in the liberal democracy by eliminating the heavy-handed regulation ,government intervention or censorship.