Role of the Media in Democracy

Democracy is commonly defined as a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Freedom and democracy walk hand in hand. Democracy, in my view, is only compatible with a free economy. Like a fish to water, democracy can only exist in an atmosphere of freedom of action; it is completely incompatible with a system that provides for a governing authority with coercive power. We live in society today where the media plays a pivotal role in how we see the world, and how our opinions are formed, whether it is from what we watch on television or what we gather from newspapers.

Media acts as an interface between the common man and the Government. It is a very powerful tool with the ability to make and break the opinion of people. If media tells the public that this picture is being demanded as one of the most wanted terrorists, people would regard him as one blindly. It has the capacity to swing perceptions or evoke emotions. This is what it has gained – faith of public.

Media through its various means of newspapers, television and cinema is what rules the heart and minds of people. For instance, the advertisements by IDEA Cellular and the TATA group promoting education for all, democracy by voting through Short Message Service (SMS), the Jaago India slogans are perhaps, not only charming the public but also have a huge impact on their minds.

The media has helped to make our society a democracy by placing emphasis on issues that at one point in time would have been considered strictly private such as child birth, homosexuality, child care, domestic violence, and sexual harassment.

Transparency and accountability are a must for proper functioning of a democratic system. The nexus between corruption and democrats intertwined by politics seems to snatch the serenity and peace of our country. The lethal politics played by these democrats – the politicians, the bureaucrats, criminals is far away from the peak of dextrous politics being played by the media. For their vested interest, they throw the whole society into an inferno.

Coverage of exploitative malpractices by corrupted officials has helped in taking stringent actions against them by attracting the government’s attention. One of the most disturbing coverage was the story of Geetanjali Nagpal, a onetime booming model, who was found begging on the streets of Delhi. It was media, the first one to spot her and helped her to recover from psychiatric disorder. Another instance, the most horrendous explosions, that is, the Mumbai terror attack, commonly abbreviated as 26/11 was an outrageous incident experienced by India. Media was the one who reported every second of those 63 hours of operation conducted by the commandos. It;s all due to media that youth is strongly affected by the NSG commandos, who came into picture with their proud achievement and will always abide our blessings.

However, media does play a negative role as well.

During the Taj operation conducted by commandos, the coverage by media was helping the terrorists as well as they were aware of what steps the commandos were taking. The unnecessary exposure by media also has an adverse effect on children. They are hobbled by stringent laws.

Manisha Adlakha