The word ‘media’ is derived from the word medium, signifying mode or carrier. Media is intended to reach and address a large target group or audience. The word was first used in respect of books and newspapers i.e. print media and with the advent of technology, media now encompasses television, movies, radio and internet. In today’s world, media becomes as essential as our daily needs. Media of today is playing an outstanding role in creating and shaping of public opinion and strengthening of society.
Media is the sword arm of democracy. Media acts as watchdog to protect public interest against malpractice and create public awareness. Today when politicians are taking full advantage of their positions, an evil nexus of mafia and crime syndicate is making the life of the common man miserable, taxpayer’s money is siphoned out for the personal gain of the influential and ordinary people are a mere spectator-media has a grater responsibility As the fourth pillar of democracy along with judiciary, executive and legislature, media of today has an all embracing role to act against the injustice, oppression, misdeeds and partiality of our society.
From the days abode, media has remained an integral part of human civilization. From the days of Vedas and Upanishads to edicts of kings and emperors like Chandragupta, Asoka to the medieval Indian mass gatherings to the modern day’s audio video and print media, media has always taken a pivotal role in shaping our society. During the days of freedom struggle newspapers like Tilak’s Maratha, Mahatmaji’s young India acted as a platform to place the demands of common Indian and to express solitude with freedom fighters. Indian media in post independence era has grown up phenomenally and today comprises of more than 50,000 newspapers, hundreds of television and radio channels.
In this era of liberalistion, privatisation and globalisation(LPG) the world has reached our drawing room thanks to media. Since the introduction of television in our country in late 70’s visual media becomes a very potential tool in informing the current news to the society, entertaining the people and shaping up of public opinion. The World Wide Web and web 2.0 technologies have given rise to electronic media where even a common man can express views through blogs, website posts, facebook and twitter like social media. Coupled with traditional print media all these audio video and social media caters to a richly diversified media industry in India.
Media helps in fighting against corruption, nepotism, cronyism of institutional machinery and carrying out relentless campaign against them. Way back in independent India from the Mundra case to the jeep scandal to the hawala case to the kickbacks received in different defense deals- Indian media performs commendably in exposing the corrupted highly placed statesman. In recent scams from commonwealth to 2G, exposed thanks to television and print media, media acted as a catalyst to government action compelling government to swing into action including suspending ministers and putting ministers into jail. Who can forget the crusade taken by Indian media in the Nirbhaya rape case and shaping the public opinion in one of the most heinous crimes the world has ever witnessed. Without media, the news of government schemes and benefits would have never reached the target audience.
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Today our life is full of mass media. Our day begins with a newspaper delivered to us with our morning cup of tea. Some of us switch on to radio or TV while getting ready for the day and try to absorb the latest developments since the newspaper went to bed (sent for printing) last night.
Both on radio and TV advertisements are sandwiched between news items and songs as the case may be. These advertisements try to influence our minds about what we should eat, drink, wear or buy in general.
They even caution us against diseases like AIDS, remind us about polio drops, inform us about forthcoming films and motivate our thinking in a subtle manner. Before leaving home for the day some of us check and reply our e-mails like we used to see our mail boxes.
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Some of us even log on to our favorite sites for news and information. After getting ready the moment we hit the road we are bombarded by hoardings, banners, stickers, and bill boards cajoling and coaxing us to do this and not to do that.
Those of us who travel by car immediately tune in to the FM and get a fresh dose of information education and entertainment. In our college or workplace we are fed lot more information through books, CDs, notes and lectures. After the class or office we may decide to go for a film and get into a make believe world around us. A running TV channel greets us on returning home and we are so tired that we just collapse into a sofa or bed to see whatever is being shown.
If we don’t like one channel we surf and see another. Before going to bed we once again visit a website or chat on the ICQ with a friend. This is how press or media is controlling our life and mind.