Each time I attend a meeting where public officials are gathered and the subject of the mass media comes up, the room lights up. The stories of deep frustration with the media simply flow out of them like melted butter out of a jug. The complaints are legion:
- Those terrible journalists distort my views.
- The media are instruments of terror...virtually.
- They don't get anything serious; they are lazy and uninformed.
- They are in bed with sinister forces, and corrupt proprietors.
- They are not to be trusted at all.
- As the discussion progresses, the authoritarian impulse comes out. You hear calls for strict regulation of the mass media in the particular developing country. Yes, the officials say, the media must be brought to heel, reigned in.