The Great Power of Media
Our civic books have reflected Media as the fourth pillar of democracy, according to the Indian constitution, whereby thrusting a huge responsibility for the Great Power of Media. Hailing from Pre-Independent era till date, the media has undergone an evolution. The form, the style, the technology, etc., all have witnessed, leaps and bounds of transformation. Gone are the days, when people have to wait for almost 24 hours to have their newspaper in hand to get insight into the major bulletins. Today, the magic of technology has pervaded. The Great Power of Media can be relished with a few clicks.
In this comprehensive journey of media fruition and advancement, undoubtedly the number of media houses and their extensive mass reach have undergone a quantum jump. However, the credibility of the media and its content has miserably stooped to a very low. There are innumerable instances during the reporting of the news stories, where the journalists and media authorities have shown a laid back attitude towards the integrity of the accuracy of the information reported.
A record of such instances questions the great power of media on the audiences. For example, recently, when the then TamilNadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa was counting her last breath, without any prior communication from the respective Hospital Authorities, a Tamil news channel, declared the demise of her, in the early hours of the day without having any prior documentary proof of the death. The Hospital authorities vilified the news and issued the press release of the death only in the late hours to all the media houses. A few years back in 2013, a Kannada news channel, reported the falsely the demise of the famous Southern Actress Kanaka without any evidence.
There are hundreds of instances where newspapers tweak the images with tools like Photoshop as per the editorial policy of the news organization and to influence the public opinion. In many instances, even the live video gets edited as per the thoughts of the Editor-in-Chief. In 2014, Indian National media house, Doordarshan as well as the Times of India, published a news bulletin, “Modi had said “Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was like his daughter”. After which a war of words between the two was witnessed.
In the global arena, the famous CNN news channel is considered as House of Fake News. Recently we even heard Donald Trump to accuse the CNN news reporter with such remarks. Anderson Cooper, one of the American Journalist at CNN news channel, fakes Syria war footage by dubbing in sound effects and playing chaotic video next to a Syrian correspondent. The endless list of such unsubstantiated news stories is witnessed by the audience in the global as well regional field.
The freedom and the power, cannot be snatched away from the media houses. Having the said that, with great power comes greater responsibility. The contagious and dreadful race to break the news between the media houses and respective journalists, whether it is global, national or regional channels, has deteriorated the trust of the audience on the media houses. After all the evolutionary growth of the Media World, today we are the testimony of the downfall of the media houses.
In countries like India, media rules the brain of the audience. Anything conveyed by the media houses is absorbed blatantly, leaving a lasting impact on the audience. In countries like India, Media has a much wider and equal responsibility as the government, not just to communicate information, but also be instrumental in fighting the social evils and form public opinion.
A robust system and infrastructure is required to govern the activities of the media houses and channelize them in the right direction. A standard rule book of responsibilities and governance must be institutionalized by the independent and unbiased forums, without the interference of the political vendetta for all the media houses, irrespective of national and local.
Today, I sense the mood of uncertainty and distrust among the audience in any form of media. There is a sense of anger on the media houses and their work. No one believes the first news they hear, whether it is print media, broadcast media or social media. A sense of cross check in every possible way is needed.
With a background in Journalism, being skeptical about every word I write, has become my way of life. The time has come, when media houses, have to introspect, quit the race of breaking the news and bylines, and form a cohesive forum, to win back the trust of the audience. The day is not far, when the credibility and trust will be endangered species and the growth of media would be a TRP number game.