By Gururaj Rao:
Media is not the only means of communication which is used to dispense flow of all kinds of information. Its importance certainly cannot be estimated in developing nations because it is the primary source of information to people; be it politics, current affairs, sports, business or technology. The actual impact of different kinds of media on the society is notoriously hard to determine because of its pervasiveness and the effects being slow and cumulative. In spite of all this, few people will dispute the observation that a society that is inundated with media is likely to be affected by it as well.
Just like every coin which has two sides, there are both positive and negative aspects of media influence. Due to the hugeness of impact of media on the society, it is popularly known as the “fourth pillar of democracy”. Media is such a powerful propeller and direction-provider that it acts as a tool which governs the way our society works. The opinions of people can change instantaneously and a ‘somebody’ will be reduced to a ‘nobody’ within seconds by just one wave of the media.
Looking at the brighter side, people get to know all that is happening in their city or country in a matter of few minutes. Media has the ability to penetrate into the remotest nook and corner of the country to make people aware of what is going on where, at any given moment. It serves as the most reliable outlet of public opinion due to the swift and easy availability of information in addition to bridging the gap between the common man and those men and women who run the country. The media creates heroes by bringing into the open, the achievements of the ordinary citizens or the aam aadmi. It gives unbelievable amount of power to the aam aadmi to reach out to different people. It also acts as a kind of whistleblower or a deterrent on practices like corruption. It helps to convey to the janta the working of the government and promotes various social causes such as anti-dowry, literacy, discouragement of female infanticide, disaster and health management and awareness against AIDS.
On the negative side, it can instil wrong, destructive and negative thoughts which may have far reaching and adverse consequences on the society and its thinking patterns as a whole. Due to its power of altering opinions, the media can portray a positive thing negatively and vice-versa. Media usually goes out of the way to glorify and advertise issues like violence which is certainly unwarranted and not necessary.
However many pros and cons, Media is and always will be an integral part of the society.