Role of Media

Context

The fourth pillar of the world’s largest democracy is threatening the vibrancy of democracy itself. Threats to press freedom are far greater from within than from outside. Noise in politics is the music of democracy but noise in news is making mockery of democracy. Tabloid news and yellow journalism are the alarming challenges in the today world.

Role of Media

  • Media plays an important role as an independent watch dog and brings forward the grievances of the people to the policy makers.
  • It generates the awareness about the governance and government programs.
  • It plays proactive role in exposing scams, like 2g, Coalgate, CWG etc.
  • It provides information to public on social, political and economic interests.
  • Social media has grown exponentially nowadays and is used to interconnect people, for debates and disscussions.
  • Media can acts as an agent of social change and leads to social transformation like Right to Life, Right to Education, Right to Information, Swacchh Bharat etc.
  • Media influences the lifestyle of the citizens through its creative presentations and advertisement promtions.

Critique

  • Today’s media is needed to realize its real purpose and prevent from being a lapdog instead of watchdog of political and corporate interests. Media today is accused of dispalying selective boldness.
  • Accountability of media collides with its commercial intent. TRP driven media tends to compromise factual news with superficial sensational news. Eg Farmer’s death ignored and whole day shows on cricket match events.
  • Paid news affects elections outcomes as opinion of the voters are turned with ‘yellow journalism’. Election Commissions guidelines are openly violated as Print media is out side the preview of RPAs.
  • Media trails are done for sensationalism which prejudices the criminal proceedings in the actual court of justice.
  • Some media channels carry out sting operations which are driven by political intentions. It is often termed as supari-journalism.
  • In search of Sensationalism, sometimes news violate the privacy of citizens. Eg. Indian media had leave during Nepal during the Earthquake disaster due to its unprofessional and insensitive reporting.
  • The age old dilemma of free-vibrant media vs public accountability still persists.

Way forward

  • The ‘Press Council of India’ (PCI) need more powers that was set up to ensure accountability and ensure that freedom isn’t misused. Despite being quasi-judicial it is toothless as it can only issue warnings and not punish the media outlets.
  • Media needs more self-regulation with less government control to avoid conflict of interest.
  • Since all major democratic institutions are under the scrutiny through checks and balances, media cannot be given a free ride.
  • There is needs provide open information about ownership and holdings of media outlets.

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