The fundamental aspect in building a country divided in two categories : the internal and external. The internal categories has a core that is a health government such as the application of democracy, autonomy and decentralization. Meanwhile, the external categories means that a country must have a good relation with other countries and it is including about having a fine country reputation. A country reputation is the opinion of people in general about a specific country or how much respect or admiration a country receives. This kind of reputation will give a lot of influence on the developmental process of the country it self. A country reputation is a valuable asset and also a source of both advantages and disadvantages.
There are excessively channels to gain a country reputation. Nowadays, all of the countries around the world are proactively managing their reputations using public relations and other strategic communication efforts. In this era, the role of media have been acknowledged as the most important and effective ways to share the identity of a nation to the world. Media have been found to influence people’s perceptions of countries and build
images of nations (Wanta et al , 2004). Among the various sources that public relations practitioners use to communicate about a country to its international public, news media are considered one of the most effective platforms. A public opinion poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported that about 31 per cent of Americans use newspapers to receive most of their news about other countries and international issues. Mass media offer an opportunities for indirect experience with other countries by disseminating much of the information available about those other countries. This mediated experience is a crucial event in shaping individuals’ perceptions of other countries, because people around the world get most of their information about other countries from the media when they lack direct firsthand experience (visiting other countries directly). In addition, news media together with entertainment media can influence individuals’ understandings of other countries.
Through the media, a lot of information of a country are shared throughout the world. There are at least seven points from the news or information given by media that will effect a country reputation :
- Emotional appeal (How much the country is liked, admired, and respected by the native)
- Physical appeal (The country’s infrastructure such as roads, housing, school building, health care and communication)
- Financial appeal (The country’s competitiveness, profitability, inflation, growth prospects and investment)
- Leadership appeal (How well the country demonstrate a strong leadership and communicates an appealing vision of the country)
- Cultural appeal (How well the country retains the values of distinct, appealing culture and a rich historical past)
- Global appeal (The process how the country deal with global community and environmental policies)
- Political appeal (Shows the country’s political status such as democracy, coping with public aspiration and stable political environments)
Those seven points that given by media let the people judge and have their own opinion about other countries. It is also important to underlined that negative information tends to carry more weight than comparable positive information. Thus, when media criticize an aspect of the country that is no longer on a well standard, this negative information may have a stronger influence on people than positive information may offer. In fact, a study conducted by Wanta et al. (2004) found that negative media coverage of a country led people to think negatively of the country, whereas positive coverage did not show such a correlation. This study was based on United States public opinion surveys on 26 foreign countries.
Another thing, entertainment media is also bring a great influence on people’s mind about other country. Once the entertainment media create and share inappropriate shows, individual’s opinion are formed, that the country where the shows produced is not a good and safe places to visit. Moreover, it is possible for an ‘anti’ movement to appear and widespread. For the example, a study of teenagers in 12 different countries led by DeFleur (2003) conclude that anti-American attitudes among young men are heavily influenced by the negative portrayal of Americans in American-produced entertainment media such as films, music and television programs.
People’s perceptions of countries can significantly affect their decisions and willingness to travel to, invest in and purchase products of a country. Once a country has a good reputation in international society, it will get many advantages such as :
- Foreign investors
When a country has a good reputation, foreign investors from various parts of the world will have a high interest to invest in that country. This investment interest is certainly based on that the destination country has a stable government and economic system so that it will become a well-developed investment land. When investment in a country increases, then the national income will also increase dramatically. In addition, more jobs will be opened for the people in the country. Automatically, the unemployment rate will also decrease and the welfare rate of life increases.
- Export commodity
Export commodities in countries with good reputation will certainly increase because their products are in demand by the international community. This increase in exports will also increase state revenues and increase the development of national businesses. in addition, with increased exports, the independence of a country in realizing a prosperous society will also be achieved.
- Travelers and tourists
The travelers will choose a destination that is good and comfortable. The ‘promotion’ approach of culture and tourist destinations undertaken by the media will have a great effect on increasing the number of tourist arrivals. This tourist arrival, in addition to introducing cultural treasures to the international community, can also help increase the country’s foreign exchange and economic stability.
There is only one country that deserves to be my country. It grows with deeds and those deeds are mine
Author : Dennia Oktavia Zahidah Hulwah, Malang, East Java Province, Indonesia