THE ROLE MEDIA IN OUR SOCIETY
One of the earliest proverbs we learnt at school is “ The pen is mightier than the sword”. This signifies the importance and power of literature, which has the ability to influence people more than any war or conquest. The written material is the source and fundamental part of media. With the advent of modern technology, the media has diversified into many other forms, such as radio, television and the internet. Together, these play a very important role in shaping up the views and opinions of the society.
The earliest records of media playing a role in the society are believed to have been originated in ancient Greece. It started out as a sort of pamphlet which informed people about the government order and was posted at public places. During the Middle Ages, drummers used to be dispatched to villages to inform the people about the king’s directives. Towards the beginning of the 18th century, newspapers in their present form started becoming more common, as printing presses become cheap and available throughout the world. The onset of 20th century saw the invention of radio and then the television, opening up new vistas of opportunities for the media to expand itself. Gradually, major world events came to be broadcast by these modern tools, thus laying the foundation of a symbiotic relationship between the news and the medium. The invention of the Internet took the world by storm and quickly became the most preferred tool of media broadcasting. Today, the world is at our fingertips, as we can access news happening in any corner of the world with just a click of the button.
There is a well-known saying: “With great power comes great responsibility.” The media ought to play a constructive role in the society. As such, its role is of paramount importance, since its conduct has a bearing on everyone’s lives. In modern times, we have seen that the media has the power to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. The role of media can be compared to that of a river. When harnessed properly, the river is the lifeline of many people. But when in spate, the same river can become disastrous. Similarly, when left uncontrolled, the media can wreak havoc in the society. Hence, there is a need for constant introspection within the Fourth Eastate to ensure that it does not overstep its limits.
In the present era of 24×7 news, incessant reporting and glamorised presentation, the media is constantly evolving to bring out innovative ways to connect with its audiences. Consequently, the media influences the outcome of any major event, thus having a greater impact on the society than ever. There are many cases which highlight this fact. The media has been instrumental in uncovering a plethora of scams in our country. The 2G spectrum scam, the Adarsh Housing Society scam and the Commonwealth Games scam in particular have generated a lot of public outrage both for their colossal waste of money and the blatant disregard for rules and sentiments of the people by the perpetrators. The media should be given credit for its role in the investigations in the face of mounting government pressure because of the high and mighty involved.
The politics of our country and the peopl’s perceptions regarding the same have been increasingly influenced by the media. Mr. Modi cruised to a historic victory in the General Elections of 2014, having employed the media to project himself as the harbinger of change from the policy paralysis of the UPA-2. In particular, he made tremendous use of social media to influence the country’s youth.
The internet has become one of the most powerful tools of the media. Social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter connect people all over the world, reducing the barriers between continents to just a click away. They have provided and important platform for raising relevant issues
Facing the society. They also help in establishing a greater level of interaction between peoples of different cultures and traditions, thus helping us understand each other better. Media has the power to change the lives of people.