here i am once more trying to defend the right of the media to give opinion polls and broadcast exit polls. the Indonesian elections are on and the opinion polls predicted a comfortable victory for Bambang Yudhoyono, the son of former dictator Suharto. today the exit polls are saying that he is winning by a huge margin.
long ago in a land often referred to as 'land of opportunities' there was concern that media could influence the voters. a monumental study (later named People's Choice) was conducted in 1948 to test the hypothesis. the result of the study showed that people are more swayed by opinion leaders in society and less by media. this was 50 years ago. what can also be read into that conclusion is the fact that a enlightened public, who have full access to media, through the process of debate and discussion (also on and through media) will arrive at their decisions, right or wrong.
The role of the media is crucial. there are two possible outcomes of a ban on opinion polls- the media outlets would come out with creative and innovative alternatives (the way they did during Lok Sabha 09) or we the people are denied the benefits of an open forum for debate, disagreement and consensus. for the success of our democracy we need to keep the press free and allow for all methods to enlighten the masses.