Democracy means ‘A system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives’. Media came into existence in 1780 with the introduction of a newspaper namely ‘The Bengal Gazette’ and since then it has matured leaps and bounds. It has been playing a very important role in shaping human minds.
Role of media
Media plays a crucial role in shaping a healthy democracy. It is the backbone of a democracy. Media makes us aware of various social, political and economical activities happening around the world. It is like a mirror, which shows us or strives to show us the bare truth and harsh realities of life.
The media has undoubtedly evolved and become more active over the years. It is the media only who reminds politicians about their unfulfilled promises at the time of elections. T.V news channels’ excessive coverage during elections helps people, especially illiterates, in electing the right person to the power. This reminder compels politicians to be upto their promises in order to remain in power.
Television and radio have made a significant achievement in educating rural illiterate masses in making them aware of all the events in their language. Coverage of exploitative malpractices of village heads and moneylenders has helped in taking stringent actions against them by attracting government’s attention.
The media also exposes loopholes in the democratic system, which ultimately helps government in filling the vacuums of loopholes and making a system more accountable, responsive and citizen-friendly. A democracy without media is like a vehicle without wheels.
In the age of information technology we are bombarded with information. We get the pulse of the world events with just a click of a mouse. The flow of information has increased manifolds. The perfect blend of technology and human resources (journalist) has not left a single stone unturned in unearthing rampant corruption in politics and society. We all are well aware of what tehelka did. Thanks to technology that has brought a kind of revolution in journalism.
Impact of media
The impact of media is really noteworthy. Excessive coverage or hype of sensitive news has led to communal riots at times. The illiterates are more prone to provocations than the literates. Constant repetition of the news, especially sensational news, breeds apathy and insensitivity. For instance, In Dhananjoy Chatterjee case, the overloaded hype led to death of quite a few children who imitated the hanging procedure which was repeatedly shown in most of the T.V. news channels. There is a plethora of such negative impacts. Media should take utmost care in airing or publishing such sensational news.
Commercialization has created a stiff competition in media. In order to outdo each other print media has often gone one step further in publishing articles, cover stories, etc. on sex.
Media experts say this is one of the means of attracting readers who are glued to T.V. news channels, which have cropped up swiftly in a recent past and they believe this is a cheap form of journalism.
No one is perfect in this world and so is the media. Here I am not degrading the media, rather I would say there is still a lot of scope for improvement by which media can raise upto the aspirations of the people for which it is meant. I cannot think of a democracy without active and neutral media. Media is like a watchdog in a democracy that keeps government active. From being just an informer it has become an integral part of our daily lives. With the passage of time it has become a more matured and a more responsible entity. The present media revolution has helped people in making an informed decisions and this has led to beginning of a new era in a democracy.