Derived from the word medium, denoting mode or carrier, the media is directed to inform and enlighten a large target audience. It is quite a widely known fact that human beings are one of the most easily influenced species on this planet. From advertisements on the television to public content on the internet, media works in micro groups, shaping and fashioning societal behaviour. It generates pre-formulated opinions towards the general audience. Sometimes acting like a group, sometimes independently.
We living in a time and an age when hardly anything is out of our reach. From booking a resort to forming an opinion, we have now officially become the ultimate consumer. We rely on these resources to validate our own choices thereby forming a sort of mutual dependence. But should we take a step back and review our relationship with the media and its tributaries? Probably yes.
Over the years, it has evolved. Let us now briefly walk through the various sectors and the changing faces of the media.Media primarily meant the print media, for instance books, newspapers and any other form of written document. These manuals functioned as sources of information and conductors of judgement. It was a powerful medium that had the innate responsibility to steer the masses in a specific direction, guiding them towards a specific thought. People realised the true strength of words and the ability it possessed. It was a strong tool for propagating beliefs, but was still restricted only to the upper classes.
Being a medium that is completely based on language and the ability to read, print media was hardly ever a favourite of the poor, unlettered crowd and sadly, it is still quite a significant number of people. It was impossible for them to read any written material, newspapers or books in hope of gathering knowledge or information because they had no education. They were helpless. Thus they had to depend greatly on word of mouth and what other people had to say concerning a current issue or a matter of importance. That more often than not turned out to be a rather inaccurate process, forcing them towards making incorrect observations.
Gradually there led to a diversification of the media with the advent of technology. Print media was accompanied by television, radio and now, the internet. The television is still one of the most invigorating tools of the media. News, advertisements and television soaps help in promoting thoughts and ideologies that eventually result in forming adequate changes in a person’s life.
The repeated hammering of beliefs through advertisements also acts as a kind of conditioning of the human mind. That can be both a positive and a negative factor. Advertisements that depict issues like the importance of indoor sanitation, female education, safe sex, road safety, family values spread an important message and awareness amongst people. But on the other hand there are certain advertisements that promote the most ridiculous and infuriating things. Those are always under a garb of clever advertising, making people overlook the obvious discrimination. Advertisements, for instance that promote the importance of skin complexion, size, height and beauty in the professional or the marital sphere, not only naturalize a serious form of bias but also take away from the importance of individual merit and innate bodily features.
The social media quite recently has become a favourite platform for many to voice their views. It allows an independent, free speech for individuals to express themselves and thus feel liberated. Being a limitless zone, social media websites have the unlimited power to let like-minded people communicate and thereby share views from anywhere to practically anywhere. Having said that, in recent times a form of social media malpractice, colloquially referred to in this context as hating has surfaced. In this malpractice, individuals declare their dislike towards towards someone or something rather openly, sourly, crudely and usually out of turn. They profess their hatred from behind their computer screens and mobile phones therefore feeling that they can and that they will get away with it. Hating has gradually turned into a form of cyber bullying.
After the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature, Media of today forms the fourth pillar of Democracy. It performs the seminal role of acting against the corruption, injustice, nepotism, oppression and discrimination present in our society. However, we must remember at all times that the above mentioned misdeeds can have certain powers to control and even help in manipulating the content of media and by extension, the general population.
The tool of the media is a great power and we must learn how and exactly how much to use of it. If used in an informative way it will benefit everyone. But if and when abused, it will start showing in the attitudinal change of the greater population. Let no censor board reign over our freedom of expression. Let us decide what we see or read or hear. Let it be free of corruption, directed towards enhancing general perspective. Because clearly if we put our heads together to channel that thought, who knows what the brand new world can hold?