To understand the role of media, broadly mass media can be divided into two parts – electronic media and print media. TV, Radio, the Internet,etc. are included in the electronic media. And Newspapers, Magazines and Journals, etc.are included in the print media.
The mass media is a unique feature of modern society. In the last five to six decades the influence and role of media have grown exponentially with the advance of technology. There is a direct relation between the development of mass media and social change. However, the degree of this influence depends on the issues taken up by the media. We live in a society that depends on information and communication, to keep moving in the right direction. Our day to day activities like work, entertainment, health care, education, personal relationship, travelling almost everything is influenced by media directly or indirectly.
Most of the consequences either detrimental or beneficial, which have been attributed to mass media, can be due to some other tendencies in the society. Therefore, some sociologists even say that the mass media is used as ‘an instrument’ and it is both more powerful and more flexible than everything in previous existence.
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Role of Media
Electronic media, particularly the visual one, influences the viewers in a great way. In order to increase their TRP, the various TV channels are showing such scenes and images, which are of no importance and have an adverse effect on the mind of viewers. Many channels cross the limits of ethics and morality by showing sexual and rape cases, with minute details by the anchor. They little understand the trauma of the victim. Their only purpose seems to be to present such news in a spicy manner. The TV coverage of massacres by communal fanatics creates feeling of hatred among the communities and motivates others to wreak vengeance. And the same thing can be said about the print media also though the printed matter doesn’t have that subtle effect as the visual one has. It is also seen that the media (both electronic and print) is biassed. It is the owner who decides the policy of a particular TV channel, newspaper or some journal. They favour some particular ideology or political viewpoint and people are generally carried away by their views. They lose their own sense of discretion because they consider their views as the gospel truth.
The media makes billions of rupees with the advertising they sell and that we are exposed to. People generally make up their buying decisions on the basis of what they see on TV, newspapers or magazines. And many a time they are carried away by the tall claims made by these advertisements and buy substandard or unnecessary things. But this is only one face of the coin. The role of media is to help in increasing our knowledge about the different brands available in the market and thus gives us the wider choice.
It is believed that the most prominent sign of the role of media (mass) influence is the link to violent programmes. Some people believe that the TV has altered the world, and it is rotting the minds of the youth. Most of the reality programmes are just a dump of rubbish ideas. Who can deny the fact of the usage of obscene and double meaning language used in such programmes?
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No one can ever forget the 26/11 Mumbai bomb blasts. And the role of different TV channels did an irreparable harm to the nation. Just to increase their viewer ship all the channels were showing minute details of these attacks, the position of the security forces, etc. And the terrorists across the border used this information to cause more and more destruction. It is the social responsibility of media to be sensible in covering such incidents.
Both the print and the electronic media can play very important role in the awakening the common man against social evils. The most recent example, in this case, is that of Anna Hazare. His drive against corruption and the demand of Janlokpal Bill (Public ombudsman bill) received wide media coverage. Anna Hazare mobilised the masses with his fast against corruption. The media – and in particular TV news channels – virtually turned coverage into a campaign. Corruption is a big problem which is eating into the entrails of the nation. And the media made a very positive impact on society by arousing it from its deep slumber against this evil.
It can be safely concluded that role of media is like a double edged sword. And it is the responsibility of the media people to use it to eradicate the evils from the society.