Media: The Dwindling Pillar Of Our Democracy

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Media is one of the pillars of democracy, shouldering the responsibility of raising correct questions, and at times, not overlooking important things that are easily ignored or subdued by our very own law-makers. More than just showcasing what is going around the globe, they have the power to make or break the public view. They are our eyes to the gateways of politics, to social issues and to society in general.

Even when Democracy was absent in India during the colonial rule, media played an important role in keeping people informed and in mobilizing the masses towards a common cause of independence. A glance at the pivotal role which media played in the attainment of Independence will give a grip of the value systems which the media stood for. Some of the value systems included secularism, nationalism, and encompassing of our diversity. They have formulated certain stereotypes, broken some, but the intention had always been for the betterment of society, nothing more and nothing else.

However, right now what we view in front of our television sets is nothing but views formulated for garnering maximum TRPs. When we have major news channels either in print or virtual world, relying upon some break-up story or a cleavage one, the motive is no longer to educate the audience, it is merely to attract their attention.

After all, TRPs can always supersede logic, goodwill, and ground establishment of an organization, can’t it? What are principles and a moral virtuous conscience?

TRP driven news media has caused more harm than good to the thought process, perceptions and progressive thought that media generally should inspire. There is barely any quality in the debates, there is barely any information in the news covered and there is barely any important social issues addressed in the news.

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Journalists have got into an open mud-slinging exercise of ridiculing others just to prove their upper hand; of making news out of a story that reeks of nothing but misogynistic attitude; of strengthening sexism than breaking its shackles away; and furthermore, of fabricating news- all in the name of garnering audience.

All this just adds more embarrassment to the existing woeful quality exhibited by the news media. It’s a war on television these days, war to fight with people belonging to same field, and mock their viewpoints and to further degrade the already tinting image of what is infamously knowns as- sensationalist news.

Media should bring back the most important issues to the forefront, inform people about the challenges India and its people are facing i.e., malnutrition, education, infrastructure, health and much more. Media could not only inform but also throw light on the means to solve the issues.

Politics is and should be a small yet important part of our public imagination and debate space. What each politician said and tweeted ranks very low in comparison with many issues that plague our development. The public discussion and debates have become too political rather than issue based. People are debating and defending politics and politicians instead of policies.

Media has the power, they have the intellectuality of people at disposal, yet, the sorry state. Let us bring politicians and various religious leaders together, and debate, that’s the trend, and that’s the news hour story. Let us obsessively focus around actors and their relationship because that should always be of more importance. The nation indeed wants to know what happened between Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif.

In this bitter and hurtful pursuit of ratings, they have yielded themselves hostage to the political cacophony that defines our times, and also defiles it. There is way too much of opinion masquerading as news. The very notion of the press as the fourth pillar of our democracy has subsided subsequently.

All they do is treat inconsequential gossip as a serious concern, even when knowing that they have a responsibility to the public discourse, to affect practice and policy. Let us hope we are out of this sorry state of news and can finally relive the times when media was able to formulate logical views, than views fueling themselves on gossip and malicious, regressive thoughts.

Yugansha Malhotra

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The Viewspaper

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