The policy process is a staged system of assessing societal values, through use of "multiple methods of inquiry and argument to produce and transform policy-relevant information that may be utilized in political settings to resolve problems," (Dunn, 1981:11). Policy-making is deeply influenced by the media, which tends to shape societal views. The process of policy-making establishes objectives through conflict resolution; making solutions to policy problems affecting a community. However, policy responses are often poor because of inadequate information, mediocre policy design, bad decision-making - due to powerful media and other interest groups, and ineffective implementation. This means that the policy process often fails. By improving processes such as the introduction of reforms of the system, and media control, better policy management could be made.
Public policy development in Australia, is a staged process conducted in an impartial and methodical manner, to ensure effective policymaking. Consequently, contextual factors relating to the media, shape and condition policy, relating to political, economic and social perspectives.
Institutional capacity, economic conditions, and any history of resource use all play a significant role in the policy process (Mayers, 1999). Therefore, as new technologies and globalisation transform public policy, the media plays a large part in influencing policy directions: directly, indirectly and benignly.
The history of Australia's newspaper and contemporary commercial media is ultimately linked to the development of issues for government or what Beresford refers to as agenda setting. Agenda setting involves refining problem issues into major components, determining varied options and presenting a researched response to policy makers and the society as a whole. This procedure consists of several stages including "issue identification... policy analysis, policy instruments, consultation, coordination, decision, implementation and evaluation," (Bridgman, 1998:27; Hansen, 1983:14-42). The media are an intrinsic part of the policy process, through their critical reporting and informing role to...