Monday, December 19, 2016

Role Of Mass-Media In Present World Affairs

Means of mass-communication or the media, has assumed large dimensions of importance and responsibility in the modern world affairs. TV, Radio and News-papers play a big role in shaping the public life and improving the awareness of the world affairs among the masses. News-papers have become almost as necessary as the food and clothing. The modern educated man cannot enjoy his morning breakfast unless he has the morning paper before him. But the world moves so fast and events happen so quickly that one cannot wait for the morning paper for fresh news. The TV and the Radio, keep us informed and alive to the current world affairs more promptly. The TV has revolutionized the world of media. It has achieved huge dimensions in the world of news and information. It gets the important events- social, political and sports, live before us, besides the interviews of the important persons related to some current events. The video strips of the events, shown along with the news, make thing very clear to the viewers. Radio is not anyway less important in keeping people informed about the world affairs, especially in the rural areas where the V has not yet been able to replace it totally. Besides the informative character of the media regarding latest developments in the political and social sphere, it caters to the needs of the businessmen, sports-person, cinema fans, lawyers and unemployed youth equally.
The media has gained manifold importance in the recent years and has become a huge industry employing a great number of able journalists, writers, photographers, statesmen, correspondents and a train of film producers, writers, musicians and actors etc. With the popularity of TV and cable-culture, the importance of news-papers and news-journals has not diminished but gained further strides for their distinctive character in the world of media.
It is a world of competition. Business, sports, politics and education, including media are flourishing very fast as a result of sharp competition among the partners. Everyone in the field, be it a news-paper or a TV channel of the state-sponsored radio, is trying hard to give the best information to the masses and gain popularity and thereby make money by the commercial advertisement which sponsor the programs on the TV and radio or through news-papers. The media-men are the most sought after people these days. In the world of diminishing values today, the politicians, businessmen, hoarders and black-marketers, even the people related to the underworld are in permanent scare of the media. They do not know when their evil-doings are brought to the open public notice through media. The media has become quite an effective watch-dog for all the anti-social elements not only in India but throughout the world, so leaders, academicians, teachers, students and lawyers speak up for the people and voice their grievances against the mismanagement of public affairs at various levels. It serves as a link between the government of the day and the people. The government’s policies and actions are conveyed to the people, and the latter’s views are forcefully expressed to make the authorities aware of the public feelings. The opposition leaders get an ample opportunity to criticize the policies of the government and set them right whenever the occasion demands as such.
The media can perform its true role as guardian of the public interest and a source of all kinds of information, only in a democracy, where it enjoys the freedom of expression. Indian media, for that matter, enjoys the freedom of expression and is greatly envied by the people of other countries of Asia where there is military dictatorship, autocratic rule and prolonged spells of emergency during which the fundamental rights of the citizens are blatantly denied. Of course, all journalists and news-papers must functions within law and must not infringe the regulations regarding libel and defamation; otherwise they would make themselves liable to penal action. In spite of the limitations of law, the media has wide field which they can fully cover and exploit.
All news-papers and other forms of mass-media do not, however, play a positive and constructive role expected of them. A section of news-papers in this country, unfortunately, steadily increasing in number, indulge in sub-standard journalism. They distort the truth, fan up the fundamental religious sentiments, exaggerate juicy news-reports and violate all ethical standards. They use their columns for exploiting vulnerable people and do a lot of damage to the public cause. Television, which has a very powerful appeal in audio-visual communication, is not also utilized fully for the gainful purposes. Bedside working successfully in highlighting some social evils of the society through its popular serial plays and other programs, the T.V has gained much notoriety for its showing some obscene programs of fashion shows and dress competitions along with western movies which do not suit the traditional cultural background of this country. The crime, horror and violence included in the programs have encouraged lot of crime and violence in this country. Such use of media for petty personal gains for themselves, is a great betrayal of society and should necessarily be treated the black sheep in the profession.
The media in an advanced society should perform a noble mission of enlightening people, broadening their vision and discourage sectarian, communal and divisive trends. They should not resort to sensationalism and distortion of truth, incite sensitive people to take revenge against those who are their enemies or who act against their interests. It is pity that many news-papers fail to perform their duty towards the masses especially in this country where the unlettered many have an implicit belief in the printed word and tend to take as truth what they read or hear. In advanced countries, such as U.S.A. and Britain, the press and the TV is a great power. In India too, some papers hold an exalted position and are popular worldwide for their honest opinions.
The power of media is especially very great in all the democracies of the world. News-papers are said to make and break the governments, but they can perform this duty only by being the real mirrors of the society. They can mould public opinion only by their honest dealings. They cannot pressurize the public to go by their own views. Thus they can simply defame themselves and lose their mass popularity. Some national news-papers, the giants, as they can be called, enjoy a great deal of influence on governments and the people alike. They command ample resources and are greatly patronized by the masses. The people connected with these papers, especially the journalists, correspondents, cartoonists and columnists enjoy great respect and popularity among the masses. Their word has a big say in the echelons of power and business. These people gain this popularity because of their honest dealings with the situations in and outside and country. But this is not true with all such cases. The news-papers, the news-channels and other private forms of the media are usually owned or dominated by the big industrial houses and capitalist. Consequently the interest of the masses is often sacrificed at the altar of capitalism and business.
In the Constitution of India, Right to Freedom (Article 19-22) is a vital part of the Fundamental Right enshrined therein. The written word, or the Press is the essential forum of expression. A free Press is, therefore, an essential instrument of ensuring openness in society, as also for reforming it. In a society where overwhelming millions are mute, because of illiteracy and lack of interest, the responsibility of the media increases manifold and the access to a forum that reaches them must be viewed as a trust to be operated on their behalf and for their larger good. The media is, no doubt, only one of the instruments of change in the modern world society but nevertheless, it serves as an important source of information to different sections of the people and has far-reaching effect on government policies and plans. The press-men have a responsibility towards the common-man, as such; the press cannot be completely free. Even the greatest democrat cannot allow it. Liberty of thought may be complete, but the liberty of expressing that thought, is bound to some restriction, not only from outside but from within also---within your heart. There would obviously be chaos in the would if everybody were allowed to say or publish what he thought or felt. There is a very wise saying “your freedom ends where anyone else’s begins”, applies here also.  Freedom of expression should not be allowed to degenerate into freedom of abuse.
Freedom of Press is a sacred privilege, but it requires great tact and patience to exercise it properly. Man is generally governed by passions and prejudice and the media-man is no exception to it. In the world of shifting values today, people with influencing sense of character and honesty are things of rarity, so curbs on the activities of media are indispensable as no country can allow blasphemy and personal liberty. Avoidance of mischievous and malafide criticism of government and its agencies to source some of the personal ends is not justified. The political leaders or other persons at the helm, also not justified. The political leaders or other persons at the helm, also have their limitations and it is the duty of the media to look into the facts and intentions equally and closely too, to form an opinion to publicize, so that the people, at large, are not mislead and misgivings about the events are not publicized in a wrong direction.
The responsible media is the stronghold of the democratic set-up. Democracy is based on the mass-participation of the people in the affairs of government. The masses are to be kept well-informed about the developments going on, as a consequence of the policies of the government. The achievements and the failures of the governments in power are to determine its future continuance or a change. Thus the role of the Press and the Media comes in. it is the duty of the means of mass-communication that the masses are fully and honestly aware of the realities. It is here that bad Press and other media can do a lot of damage to the cause of the people as well as the government.


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