Media in today’s date has a very different role than to what it had some years back in history. Not only in India but around the whole world the role of media and their contribution to the lives of citizens has taken a paradigm shift.
The job of media was simply reporting the day to day happenings of our country and around the world through newspapers in the morning or through radio broadcasts at specific timings throughout the day. Then came television and there was the only channel Doordarshan or DD(as it is more popularly known as) which one could watch on their television and had their fixed journalists hired by the government reading the news of what happened throughout the country in a brief manner with a monotonous tone of the news reader. The news would be very limited to popular stories and hardly any special stories where shown that would surprise people and all the news concerning the government were cleared by the government itself so they were never critical of anything related to the government. There was one movie that people could watch that too just on one day of the week on Sundays. While there were hardly so many serials and television shows that we can enjoy anytime today.
The advent of internet also led to a big change in the role of media with news anybody could watch online at any given time and with increasing speeds of internet one can now watch any movie or listen to any song or read any article with the click of a mouse or touch of our smartphones.
But a large number of media houses that we see today started coming up slowly through the late 90s and with the arrival of the 21st century we had so many news channels that even deciding which one to watch became a formidable task altogether. Today what I find is on every news channel there is news for maximum 2 minutes when the program begins and the headlines are shown and the rest of the program is nothing but a shouting match where people are invited from different political parties and also different professional backgrounds and on the pretext of debate they are given a free hand in speaking out their minds in a haphazard manner and make the viewpoints of the person speaking hardly audible so at the end of the day the viewer receives nothing but a mixed up picture about a particular issue and the viewer is forced to listen to all these debates on a particular issue till that topic dies its own death and the channels move to a different topic and again start another mudslinging competition and this never ending recurring phenomena goes on every day of our lives on every single news channel.
The real significant change in the way media did their job and way they were perceived by the people came in the year 2000 and after that when UPA I came to power it is a known fact that many congress leaders bought stakes in media houses and invested heavily in running news channels so conflict of interest was bound to affect the integrity of these channels and the veracity of their news was obviously questionable and from here came the concept of paid news which became a common affair as some news that would affect the image of the government would be mellowed down while those favoring the government would be highlighted for propaganda and creating a clean image of the government and thus interviews began to happen which had pre-decided questions and rehearsed answers thus affecting the whole structure of our media and raising important questions about media ethics. Around this time a new change came in India’s politics with sting operations through hidden cameras becoming a common fashion and many though led to shocking scams and brought light to important corruption cases but many of them are also known to be politically motivated and thus sowing the seeds for dirty politics in our country.
The main problem with the media in our country particularly lies in the fact that at some point they forget what their real role is in our society is and how much they can contribute towards in shaping a better nation by helping in nation building by providing constructive news. Though as the saying goes “One small fish in the pond makes the whole pond dirty” it is that only some news channels have led to destroying the image of the media.
We need to remember that the role of media is very important and they are one of the pillars of our society and they must uphold their integrity and help in making our country a better place to live in.