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Wednesday, 25 November 2020 08:58
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Mass media with the development of social trust in Central Vietnam

(LLCT) - On the basis of analyzing the research findings on the impact of the media on social trust in recent years in Vietnam in general and Central Vietnam in particular, the article focuses on clarifying the role of the mass media in building and strengthening social trust in Central Vietnam in the coming time concerning the following aspects: promoting the role of the mass media through social opinion orientation and building trust for people; building social life, enhancing the position and voice of the people; preventing and repelling negative phenomena in social life; and fighting against plots for distortion of opposing and hostile forces.

Keywords: mass media, social trust, Central Vietnam.

1. The impact of the mass media on the social trust of the people in Central Vietnam

According to a recent study, currently, Vietnam has more than 64 million internet users (accounting for 67% of the population), more than 55 million social media users (57% of the population) and 436 active social networks, ranking 7th out of 10 countries with the most social media users in the world(1). In recent years, the mass media has significantly influenced people, helping them to better understand the world, to have access to human knowledge, and to have the opportunity to participate in forums of exchanging and sharing useful experiences and knowledge in life and at work. The media has created many opportunities for people to access information about programs and projects of the Party, the State and socio-political organizations. On that basis, they will have opportunities to develop their capacity and strengths towards a useful, healthy life and step by step perfecting personality, forging their mettle, cultivating their ideal of life, and strengthening confidence in the regime and in the Party and State. However, we cannot help but point out the downside of the mass media, especially social networks with loads of negative information, images and false information, such as: distorting the Party’s ideological foundation; opposing the lines, undertakings and policies of the Party and the State; denying the achievements of renewal and international integration; fabricating, slandering, and defaming the senior leaders of the Party and State, causing the splitting within internal unity; and promoting “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” internally in all fields. Negative information on the internet, especially social networking sites launched by “black network” forces, has an impact on ideological work, causing suspicion, spreading confusion, fluctuation, and reducing the trust of a part of cadres, party members and people towards the Party, State and socialist regime in our country.

In our recent research into social trust in Central Vietnam, the survey of 2,093 questionnaires shows that people in Central Vietnam now tend to access information from the internet, especially from social networking sites. People tend to trust in information posted on social media more than other sources. When being asked the question, “From where do you approach information on the aspects of life?”, the results show that 67.3% of people chose mass media, 82.5% chose social networks, 70.6% chose family and friends, and 9.6% chose from other sources.

According to the survey results of the National Key Science and Technology Program code KX.01/16-20 on the level of changes in trust of people in Central Vietnam in some fields compared to 5 years ago show that the index of changes in  social networks and media confidence in the public media has a relatively high rate compared to that of other factors, accounting for 3.78 and 3.31 respectively.

When surveying the polarization of trust in information from the media of people in Central Vietnam, it shows that people who believe in information coming from social networks are more dominant than other traditional media such as radio, television and print newspapers. This shows that the internet, especially the current social network, is having a strong impact on the formation of social trust of people in Central Vietnam. This is the result of policy implications for the managers of this information delivery network, even the interaction that forms the virtual social network, and how this factor is influencing the creation of this information and social trust in Central Vietnam.

From the above results, it is required to form trust in the new information supply network of the fourth industrial revolution era and set new requirements in the management and control of information truthfulness for the network that provides this information. At the same time, the Party and State agencies need to grasp the public opinion and limit rumors and fake news as these issues are having an impact on the formation, construction, and consolidation of social belief in Central Vietnam in the current period through the network providing information to the people.

2. To bring into play the role of the mass media in shaping social trust for people in Central Vietnam

Firstly, the media orientates public opinion.

Specifically, the media must do the following:

For Vietnamese people in general and Central Vietnam in particular, public opinion is the way for each individual to participate in leading and managing society and supervising and controlling the exercise of State power. Through the orientation of ideas and public opinion, each citizen will have an objective and comprehensive view as well as a firm trust about the activities of the government apparatus and the behavior of competent subjects to get the feedback from there. In general, the flows of public opinion usually follow three trends: “support - believe”, “oppose - do not believe” and “unknown - doubt” or “like,” “dislike” and “no response” about a certain policy or decision of a State agency or the behavior of an authorized subject. In order for this process to take place smoothly, people need the role of the media as an intermediary. Communication will contribute to conveying the general thoughts and aspirations of the community to the managing entity. How fast or slow the process of receiving, processing and resolving the state’s citizenship will depend more or less on the amount of information provided by the media, and management subjects will also rely on the media to make decisions reaching people masses in the fastest way. Effectiveness from policy mechanisms and reasonable attention to social life are conditions for trust to be formed and developed. That trust will become stronger when their aspirations and proposals are fulfilled and basically met.

With a managerial role, the government apparatus of the provinces in Central Vietnam will be the place to allocate and implement mechanisms and policies and also to absorb social opinion flows. Therefore, in order to improve the effectiveness of the media’s role in shaping public opinion and building trust for people, the provincial authorities need to mobilize and promote the role of communication in the social measures aimed at perfecting guidelines and policies and promoting the role of social supervision of the media and public opinion in policy implementation and building trust for people. This way ensures both the mobilization of wisdom and emotions and trust of the whole community in social criticism and policy development, as well as social supervision in policy implementation, contributing to limiting group benefits and abuse of power, ensuring social consensus and sustainable development for the region. Additionally, there should be a transformation of the public policy communication model, from mainly education to interactive communication and from mainly “internal policy drafting” to mainly mobilizing intellectual resources, trust and support of the people participating through communication institutions. Because, it is only possible to create a high social consensus when a large number of people, especially groups affected by policy, can easily participate in socially monitoring and in policy design, it is only possible to increase people’s trust in institutions when the people can easily facilitate social supervision for policy implementation. In the present conditions, the widespread mobilization of social supervision from the people can limit the abuse of power and the corruption of power - the main factor leading to the corruption of the social regime and loss of trust among the masses(2).

Secondly, the media heightens the position and voice of the masses in building social life.

Communication is an indispensable bridge between people and society. Therefore, one of the important social functions of communication is to foster people’s cohesion on social life, and more deeply, strengthen people’s trust in common values in the community. A report on a negative or embezzlement case with a positive orientation will surely increase people’s trust in the Party and State’s anti-corruption advocacy. A one-way reflection will make the reader not only suspicious of the event that the newspaper is reporting, but also the newspaper itself as well as the managers. It is worth mentioning that once this situation becomes widespread, the risk of developing distrust in society is unavoidable. In fact, the level of trust in the media is also an indicator of the level of trust in the social system itself. Therefore, in order to consolidate and strengthen the trust in society, the authorities of the central provinces cannot help but pay attention to orienting the development of media fields in the spirit of freedom, openness and honesty.

Not only limited at the function of social reflection and providing information and arguments to guide thoughts and activities for readers and viewers, the media must also promote efficiency in serving entertainment needs, improving the spiritual life for the masses of people, and supporting businesses to promote their brands to attract consumers to know and use their products and services, thus becoming wise consumers. Communication is an effective tool for leaders to develop businesses. To a certain extent, the media will regulate the development trends of trust. Not only trust in life, communication and behavior between people but more importantly, trust in the entire Party and people to build and defend the country together and successfully implement the reform that is being laid out. Therefore, the integration of policies to build trust for the masses through the role of the media will not only create a great popularity in the community, but also create the steadfast foundations to human values of trust.

Thirdly, the media participate in preventing and repelling negative phenomena in social life.

The media steadfastly fosters positive factors, but at the same time it must also be resolute against the negative for new factors to truly be honored in social life. General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong stated that the media is an instrument of social struggle, national struggle, and class struggle. The media is not only a pure means of communication, much less a mere entertainment tool, but it has the function of communicating, promoting, mobilizing and organizing the masses to fight for revolution, education and to act as a direct action guide for the social classes(3).

In current conditions, when the deterioration of political ideology, morality and lifestyle among cadres, party members, civil servants and public employees is progressively complicated, the struggle against the above manifestations is becoming more and more necessary. The media, together with the supervision of the people, is a delicate ear to detect, clarify and publicize the manifestations of such degeneration and metamorphosis. Through praising the good and fighting against the bad and negative, the media in Central Vietnam has contributed to cleaning up the contingent of cadres at agencies and departments, improving social relations, and maintaining political stability, promoting the general development of the whole region. Through the activities of the media in this task, the masses of the local people increasingly firmly believe in the work of building a government ofthe people, by the people and for the people.

One of the major problems today is corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power and the “disease” of political apathy. These are the biggest dangers that harm the development speed of the region as well as the country, and seriously erode the trust of the people. Therefore, in order to regain public trust, it is necessary to promote the role of the media in the cause of fighting against negativity, corruption and social evils, contributing to building people for the region with full qualities of ideology, emotion, knowledge, personality, morality and lifestyle; contributing to building a new society in the socialist orientation. In recent years, thanks to the active participation of the media, many corruption cases and many serious negative manifestations in the region have been exposed. However, that is not enough because negative manifestations continue to arise and are daily and hourly threatening the destiny of the country and the trust of the masses. Therefore, in the coming periods, the media in the central provinces must create a stronger public opinion to condemn corruption and negative phenomena arising in the social life: wastefulness, laziness, deceitful business practices and irresponsible and disorganized expressions. It is necessary to resolutely fight against stagnant attitudes and behaviors and oppose showy, blatant actions, and ineffective business.

Fourthly, the media fight against plots for communication and distortions of the opposing forces.

Fighting against wrongful and hostile views is an important part of the ideological struggle, exerting a great impact on the building of government as well as the development of the whole society. In this particularly sensitive and difficult struggle, the media are truly an important force. Depending on their functions and duties, the press and media agencies have identified wrongful and hostile views and claims. They have pointed out the types of wrongful views, and at the same time, given solutions to combating them. First of all, the media considers the fight against wrongful and hostile views not only to declare war in the media against those objects, but the most important thing is to communicate to maintain stances and views for the cadres, party members and people to clearly understand the truth and not believe in distorted allegations with bad purposes. On the basis of such perception, the media will communicate and explain the Party’s lines and views, the policies and laws of the State so that the entire Party and the entire people can deeply grasp and agree highly with them. The media will also continue to improve the legal and policy system to manage social networks, non-official media, and foreign media on the internet operating in Vietnam; they will resolutely handle websites that spread malicious, reactionary, and harmful information to the cause of building and defending the socialist Vietnam Fatherland(4).

In order to control well the information sources, in addition to each individual’s senses, it is also necessary to overcome the limitations of communication. In addition to the development of scale and nature, bringing many benefits to readers, viewers and listeners, the transmission of conflicting information also makes the trust of the community in Central Vietnam severely diminished in some aspects. This is because a lot of information on the mass media today is dishonest, one-sided and even misleading or false. The information boom and market economy development requires competition in the media sector. Competition is to evolve and engage readers; it must be a fair competition by delivering the fastest, most accurate, honest, objective and engaging news, not by cheap sensational tricks. In order to do so, the communicators must thoroughly grasp the Party’s lines and views; go deep into life and practice to find out the people’s feelings, emotions and aspirations; and reflect the reality of life by means of all of its enthusiasm and responsibility. The media is not merely giving information; there must be analysis, commentary and orientation to help readers, viewers and listeners differentiate the right from the wrong, thereby helping people to protect the right, follow the good and the beauty, to know to avoid bad habits and to aim for lofty human values, for the peaceful and good life of everyone, every family and the whole society(5).

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Endnotes:

(1) Tran Ba Tan and Nguyen Xuan Quoc: Strengthening the combative skills to protect the Party’s ideological foundation on social networks at current military schools, http://dangcongsan.vn, March 14 -2020.

(2) Nguyen Van Dzung: Some issues about public policy communication in Vietnam today, Journal of Political Theory, No.2-2018.

(3) Nguyen Phu Trong: “Further promoting the role of the media in the cause of national renewal, construction and defense”, http://dangcongsan.vn.

(4) Vo Van Thuong: “The leading role of the Party in the press and media work in the new situation”, www.tapchicongsan.org.vn.

 

(5) Nguyen Phu Trong: Trusting in the leadership of the Party, all difficulties can be overcome, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2018, p.570.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Doan Trieu Long

Academy of Politics Region III

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