The media is the most powerful entity on earth because it controls the minds of the masses and play a powerful role in building or destroying the reputation of anyone and it is not limited to individuals, organizations or communities but in today’s globalized world its power is extended in building the reputation of nations as well. Media have this power because it controls minds of people. How it controls the minds? Because it is omnipresent. Earlier media was limited to the newspapers, T.V. or radio but now from the beginning of the day the first thing we do is to connect to this omnipotent and omnipresent media in various ways like checking WhatsApp, fb, twitter or something else we know them as social media or getting news feeds on google. For making all our decisions from shopping guides to voting in elections we totally rely on getting information, facts and knowledge from media sources.
In 21st century world is a big global village we all are aware what is happening in the other parts of the world. This is only because of media and on the basis of news we get and the views media gives to us we make our opinions on a particular topic, person and country. Media is known as fourth pillar in all types of government systems in the world. for instance, in India media is playing crucial role in development process of the nation by providing voice to the voiceless, helps in getting justice example Jessica murder case in which political personality was involved it shows the power of media, uniting people towards a common cause like Lok pal movement for fighting against corruption, Nirbhaya case for women safety and so on. It makes reputation of India as a truly democratic country where people are free to express different views, protest against government, carry out marches, darnas peacefully without disturbing law and order. The reputation of the nation is the by product of the role of media. For instance, success of masses movements or policies like polio campaign, Swachh Bharat mission helps in creating positive image of nation, but the success was possible because role played by media in spreading awareness and bringing attitudinal change.
Media exist in all countries no matter what type of government structure. In India media is free to operate within legal framework but China is a communist country it is considered as not true democracy, because media is not as free as in India. Censorship laws are very strict in China. If any journalist express views against government he/she may be sentenced.Instances like protest in Hong Kong is creating bad reputation of China. Social media is also covered under censorship. Great firewall of China for internet censorship, white wash laws on search engines, it means if anything against the state or government is searched will be removed. Exactly opposite in India, America and other democratic countries where mimics of PMs and about governments on social media and cartoons in national newspapers on even sensitive issues for example cartoon on Howdy Modi as critic is very normal. It builds the reputation of India as democratic nation in spirit also. Talked about positive image or building reputation,now lets us see the other face of the coin destruction of the image.
We are living in misconception that we are getting all the information we want. As today’s generation whether look or not to newspaper but they get news feed from social media and they don’t ever bother whether what they are getting is truth or false as they blindly rely on social media. The misconception prevents people from looking for truth. It is main reason of spread of fake news and hatred among communities. ABRAHAM LINCOLN said that Do not believe everything you read on internet just because there’s a picture with a quote next to it. Social media is building and tarnishing image of country. The followers of Indian Prime Minister on social media builds the reputation of nation. It shows country with a popular leader, stability in society, political system and so the economic progress and stability in diplomatic relations. But on other side fake news, character assassinations etc result to mis perception of youth and chaos in society, murders of journalists (example Gauri Lankesh, Shujaat Bukhari) tarnish reputation of nation.
World press freedom index by international NGO reporters without borders ranked India 138 out of 180 countries in 2018 and rank is slipped from 2017 and earlier from 2016. Reasons are biased media, violence against journalists, vested interest of media houses and so on. Role of media is to provide NEWS (NORTH, EAST,WEST, SOUTH) but nowadays private media is providing just VIEWS (VERY IGINITED EMOTIONAL WORRISOME SUBSTANCES) especially by political leaders and not calling experts to debates. In these debates there is not discussions, only arguments. It creates polarization of our society which results into bad consequences as people make their views not on basis of logic and rationality but just listening and consuming hatred from hate sellers in these debates. As said in the beginning quote media controls the minds of masses. And reputation of nation is the by-product of role of media. One sided view by media can destroy image of any nation badly like media channels named AL Jazeera, Quint showing that abrogation of article 370 from Indian constitution is unjust and people in Kashmir are unhappy and they have no rights. The step taken by Indian government keeping in mind developmental reasons and to get rid of terrorism in the area. Political leaders of Kashmir who are against this step expressing their views on social media freely without any fear. It shows the kind of freedom they have.
Media have to be free but it has to realise its important role not just in nation but in world also. Media should provide balanced views and play neutral role and government should ensure safety of journalists, activist by whistle blowers protection act. The main responsibility lies with the masses to search for truth as said by Abraham Lincoln on earlier mentioned quote. As the reputation of nation decide on the factor of decision of government which is influenced by media view because they control minds of masses. So, it is time to interact and analysis the issues and not acting just by seeing news and views on media technology.
Author: VARSHA SEHRAWAT, NEW DELHI